Aortic Aneurysms

What are Aortic Aneurysms?

The aorta is the main vessel that delivers blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The artery is termed as becoming an aneurysm when it starts to swell and bulge. The obvious concern with having an aneurysm is that it can burst, which is often fatal. Aortic Aneurysms that affect the main artery in the body, the aorta, usually occur in men over the age of 60 but can also be found in women and younger patients. You can get an Aortic aneurysm in any part of the aorta, but it is most common below the kidney arteries, also known as an abdominal aortic aneurysm or ‘AAA’. Aortic aneurysms can be repaired by either minimally invasive ‘keyhole’ surgery or surgery involving an incision in the abdomen, however the most suitable type of repair depends on a number of factors, including the shape of the aneurysm and your overall health.

FAQs

The development of an aortic aneurysm is unique to each patient. Medical history, genetic predispositions, and environmental factors contribute to the onset of an aortic aneurysm. Some of the most common aortic aneurysm causes include chronically high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries from cholesterol and plaque build-up), and genetic predisposition.

While stress and anxiety do no cause aneurysms, they are present after someone is diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm. To learn more about aortic aneurysm treatment, get in touch with our team.

In most cases, patients do not feel the development of an aortic aneurysm. It is very common for a patient to have no symptoms prior to getting an aortic aneurysm diagnosis. In some cases, patients do experience aortic aneurysm symptoms, which include sudden and deep pain in the abdomen or back, and occasionally in the pelvis and groin.

For anyone looking to learn more about aortic aneurysm symptoms, we highly recommend referring to our Vascular GC FAQ section for additional information. 

There are several aortic aneurysm treatment options. Dr. Bhamidi constructs an individualized aortic aneurysm treatment plan for each patient based on their anatomy, general health and medical history, shape/location of the aneurysm as well as the patients preference.

Risk factors

No one knows the exact reason that aneurysms develop but there are several factors that can contribute to or increase the risk of forming one. Aortic Aneurysms can be due to genetic causes and can run in families. Conditions which cause weakness of the artery wall can also predispose the developing aneurysms, often at a younger age than usual. The biggest risk factors include:

Symptoms

Most AAAs do not cause any symptoms until they rupture or burst. However, sometimes before this happens they may cause:

Symptoms

Most AAAs do not cause any symptoms until they rupture or burst. However, sometimes before this happens they may cause:

Diagnosis

Aortic Aneurysms (AAA) are often detected incidentally when the patient has a scan for other reasons or when their doctor feels the artery is swollen during a physical examination. Aneurysms are best managed by Vascular Surgeons who can keep a close eye on the artery with regular scans & physical examinations to minor the progress. The following scans are the most common when investigating abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA):

CT Scan

The CT scan consists of lying still on a table while the table moves through a doughnut-shaped machine while simultaneously generating X-rays. When detecting or investigation AAA’s, contrast material is usually injected into the veins in the hands so that the AAA is easier to see/detect on the CT pictures. The CT offers better quality and more accurate images than the ultrasound but unlike the ultrasound, there is a little bit of radiation involved in the scan which is why it’s not used routinely to regularly monitor aneurysms.

Abdominal ultrasound

This is a completely painless, non-invasive scan where an ultrasound probe (transducer) is placed on the abdomen to have a look inside the abdomen and detect the size of the AAA.

MRI

Similar to the CT, an MRI scan consists of lying on a table as its moved through a machine. Unlike the CT, the MRI scan takes longer and instead of quickly passing through a doughnut, the MRI scan involved lying still while being inserted into a machine for a period of time (sometimes more than 15minutes) which can make some people claustrophobic. The MRI has the advantage, like ultrasound, of not requiring any radiation as it uses magnetic impulses to take pictures. It is the least common scan when monitoring or planning on treating AAA’s.

Aortic aneurysm treatment

Like all other medical conditions, treatment for an aortic aneurysm relies on a multitude of personal and environmental factors. Depending on the the location and size of the aortic aneurysm and the perceived risk of rupture, a patient’s primary care provider and vascular surgeon will discuss the best steps forward for treatment. Some of the most common aortic aneurysm treatment options include:

Careful monitoring and assessment

If the aortic aneurysm is small and not causing symptoms, your provider may suggest regular monitoring ultrasounds and appointments to check the aneurysm size and growth.

Endovascular aneurysm surgery

Done in a minimally invasive fashion, endovascular surgery allows the surgeon to place a stent into the aneurysm as a key-hole procedure to reduce the risk of rupture.

Open-abdominal surgery

The most invasive way to treat an abdominal aneurysm is with open surgery, where an incision is made in the abdomen, the bowels are moved to the side and the aneurysm is replaced with a prosthetic graft.

About Dr Bhamidi and Vascular GC

Dr Venu Bhamidi is a leading vascular surgeon offering services to patients in the Gold Coast and northern regions of NSW. Vascular GC offers comprehensive treatment options for common vascular conditions, including varicose veins, peripheral arterial disease, aortic aneurysms, thoracic outlet syndrome, renal access, and carotid disease.

To learn more about our services or to book an appointment with Dr Bhamidi, please feel free to contact us online or give us a call at 07 5619 9962.

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