The treatment for an abdominal aortic aneurysm depends on the size and location of the aneurysm. An expanding or leaking abdominal aortic aneurysm requires emergency surgery to repair the aneurysm. This requires an incision in the chest or abdomen to insert a synthetic graft. Recovery may take 4 to 6 weeks.
A large, non-leaking aneurysm requires an elective procedure or surgery. The procedure involves placing a stent in the aorta, through a catheter that is inserted into an artery in the groin. Small aneurysms must be monitored on a regular basis: if they become too large, then they require treatment.
Treatment of a small, non-leaking abdominal aortic aneurysm may include:
- Stop smoking
- Control high blood pressure:
- Regular checkups to detect any change in the size of the aneurysm
The decision to treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm with surgery is based on the operative risk and the risk for aneurysm rupture. Risk for rupture is related to the size of the abdominal aortic aneurysm.
|AAA Size||Risk for Rupture|
|< 4 cm||0|
|4 - 5 cm||0.5 - 5%|
|5 - 6 cm||3 - 15%|
|6 - 7 cm||10 - 20%|
|7 - 8 cm||20 - 40%|
|> 8 cm||30 - 50%|
Other factors that increase the rupture risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm include:
Treatment for a large, expanding, or ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm may include:
AAA Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- Is surgery an option for me?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Do I need to lose weight?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work?
- Do I need a special exercise program?
- Will I need physical therapy?
- Will I need occupational therapy?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having this problem again?
- How often will I need to see my doctor for checkups?
- What local support and other resources are available?
Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm:
Surgical treatment for an abdominal aortic aneurysm may include:
- Abdominal aneurysms that are less than 1.5 inches wide often cause no symptoms and do not require treatment.
- An aneurysm that is causing pain or one that is larger than 2 inches (5 cm) requires surgery to repair the aorta.
Surgical procedures used to treat an abdominal aortic aneurysm include:
- Synthetic graft for abdominal aortic aneurysm
- Replacement of the weakened portion of the aorta with man-made material.
- Stenting for abdominal aortic aneurysm
- A tube is inserted into the artery, which provides strength to the weakened wall.
Continue to AAA Home Care
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- Fleming C, Whitlock EP, Beil TL, Lederle FA. Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm: a best-evidence systematic review for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med. 2005 Feb 1;142(3):203-11. 
- Isselbacher EM. Thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms. Circulation. 2005 Feb 15;111(6):816-28. 
- Lyon C, Clark DC. Diagnosis of acute abdominal pain in older patients. Am Fam Physician. 2006 Nov 1;74(9):1537-44. 
- Sakalihasan N, Limet R, Defawe OD. Abdominal aortic aneurysm. Lancet. 2005 Apr 30-May 6;365(9470):1577-89.