How Are Aortic Aneurysms Treated?


Quick Answer

Doctors treat aortic aneurysms with medications, including beta blockers and calcium channel blockers, and surgical interventions, usually either open-abdominal repair, open-chest repair or endovascular repair, explains the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Small, asymptomatic aortic aneurysms do not always require treatment.

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The treatment protocol a doctor follows for an aortic aneurysm depends on its size, states NHLBI. Doctors typically recommend periodic monitoring of aneurysms that measure less than 2 inches across to see if they grow any bigger. When doctors prescribe medication for aortic aneurysms, the goal is usually to relax the blood vessels or lower the patient's blood pressure, thereby reducing the chances of the aneurysm rupturing. Physicians typically reserve surgical interventions for cases in which the aneurysm is growing at a rapid pace or the patient is at significant risk of a rupture or dissection.

Open-abdominal repair and open-chest repair are the most common operations surgeons perform to treat aortic aneurysms, according to NHLBI. During this type of procedure, the patient receives general anesthesia, and the surgeon then makes a large incision into the chest or abdomen to access and remove the aneurysm. If the aortic heart valve is damaged, the surgeon can also repair the valve before stitching the incision closed. Conversely, an endovascular repair does not involve removal of the aneurysm. Instead, the surgeon inserts a graft into the aorta during an endovascular repair, which provides the aorta with addition support, making a rupture less likely.

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