Using advanced, minimally invasive techniques to repair bulges in the wall of your aorta
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
The goal of any abdominal aortic aneurysm treatment is to prevent it from rupturing. If you need surgery, we offer a minimally invasive approach called endovascular aortic repair (EVAR). We’re also one of the few heart and vascular centers in the region to use stent-grafts throughout the aorta.
The experts in our Vascular and Endovascular Program perform more aortic procedures than any other health system in the mid-Atlantic. We bring together vascular surgeons, cardiac surgeons, and cardiologists through our Complex Aortic Center to evaluate patients and determine the least invasive, most effective treatment.
Monitoring, medication and lifestyle changes
Smaller aneurysms that do not cause pain may not need treatment. Instead, your doctor may recommend monitoring. This likely will include overall health management and regular imaging tests such as abdominal ultrasounds to make sure the aneurysm isn’t growing.
Lifestyle changes that also can keep an abdominal aneurysm from worsening include:
- Avoid heavy lifting
- Control your blood pressure
- Eat a healthy diet
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Manage stress
- Quit smoking
Surgery to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm
Your doctor may recommend surgery if your abdominal aortic aneurysm is larger than 5cm. The type of repair you have will depend on a variety of factors, including the size of aneurysm, your age and other existing health conditions:
- Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR): This minimally invasive approach uses a thin, flexible tube with a metallic scaffold and synthetic fabric (stent-graft) attached to the end of it. The doctor will thread a catheter to the aneurysm. The stent-graft is expanded to reinforce the aorta and prevent it from rupturing. You may need to stay in the hospital for monitoring for a day, but full recovery is much shorter than with open surgery.
- Traditional open surgery: In a traditional open repair, your doctor will make an incision in your belly or side to access the aneurysm. They will remove the damaged section of the aorta and replace it with a graft. This surgery will require several days in the hospital and a month or more to fully recover.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a specific type of aortic aneurysm in the belly.
Abdominal duplex ultrasound is a combination of a traditional and Doppler ultrasound that assesses the blood vessels in your abdomen for blockages or aneurysms.
An angiogram is a special X-ray taken as a special dye is injected through a thin, flexible tube called a catheter to detect blockages or aneurysms in blood vessels.
Chest X-rays use a small dose of radiation to create pictures of the structures inside the chest, including the lungs, heart and chest wall.
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.