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Who needs the aortic stent surgery?

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Doctors may recommend endovascular stent grafting for a patient with an aortic aneurysm that measures 2 inches or larger or a patient who has medical conditions that conflict with traditional surgery, according to VascularWeb. However, a favorable candidate must have healthy sections of aorta above and below the aneurysm to support the graft. The aneurysm's shape and location and the size of the patient’s blood vessels also determine whether a stent is a better choice than conventional surgery.

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When monitoring the condition, doctors may prefer the endovascular procedure over open surgery if the aneurysm is growing so quickly that a rupture is likely, MedlinePlus notes. For example, an at-risk aneurysm may expand about 0.25 inches over 6 to 12 months. Doctors may also opt for a stent if they are reluctant to perform conventional surgery on elderly patients.

Endovascular stent grafting is a minimally invasive option to repair an aortic aneurysm, a condition in which the largest artery in the body develops an abnormal bulge, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons states. An expanding aneurysm is at risk of rupturing and causing dangerous internal bleeding. To insert the stent, the doctor watches an X-ray monitor while navigating a catheter through the vascular pathways until it reaches the weakened section of the aorta. With the synthetic graft attached to the catheter, the doctor positions the stent and expands it to route blood flow past the aneurysm.

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