An aneurysm is a blood-filled, balloon-like bulge in a weakened artery caused by the pressure from blood flow. Aortic aneurysms occur in the aorta, the main artery of the heart. There are three types, depending on the location in the body:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysms occur in the section of the aorta that passes through the abdomen.
- Thoracic aortic aneurysms occur in the chest area. They may involve the aortic root, ascending aorta, aortic arch, or descending aorta.
- Thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms occur in the aorta as it passes through both the abdomen and chest.
Surgery often is required to treat aneurysms. If left untreated, aneurysms could burst, a potentially fatal situation, or cause an aortic dissection or tear.
- Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR)
An endovascular treatment takes place inside your arteries. EVAR is a minimally invasive procedure using long, thin tubes called catheters that your surgeon threads through your blood vessels.
- Open aortic aneurysm repair
Open surgery in an operating room under general anesthetic is necessary when there is bleeding inside your body from an aneurysm, or when you are at risk for an aneurysm bursting.
- Complex arch replacement and the elephant trunk
Patients with extensive aortic aneurysms involving the artery around and including the aortic arch may require this more complex surgical procedure. This procedure takes place in an operating room and involves general anesthesia.