Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are severe medical conditions that can lead to life-threatening complications. AAA is more common in men and increases with age, but it can affect anyone.
AAA can be caused by high blood pressure, aortic valve disease, or other conditions that weaken blood vessels. It can also occur due to genetic factors.
Advanced AAA can result in pain in the abdomen, back, and legs. To diagnose this condition, doctors use ultrasound or computed tomography imaging studies.
In some cases, minimally invasive treatments can be used to repair the aneurysm. These treatments limit the risk of complications and speed up recovery times.
Endovascular aneurysm repair is a technique that can be used to block off AAA. In this procedure, a stent is implanted, or aortic grafts can prevent further aorta enlargement.
Patients with AAA often need lifestyle changes such as avoiding smoking, eating a low-fat diet, exercising, and reducing alcohol and drug use.
In emergency cases, AAA can be repaired with open aortic surgery, in which the aneurysm is cut open, a graft is placed, and clamps are used to stop bleeding.
A laparoscopic approach is sometimes used for AAA repair. This approach uses a laparoscope and other instruments to make small incisions in the abdomen to access the aorta and implant the graft.
After an aneurysm repair, doctors may prescribe antibiotics, reduce blood pressure levels, and monitor the aorta for further enlargement.
Taking measures to prevent AAA can include exercise and weight loss, quitting smoking, and taking medication to reduce cholesterol levels and control blood pressure.
Regular check-ups, especially in those at risk of AAA, are essential to detect any changes in the size of the aorta, which could indicate the need for immediate surgery.