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Endovascular Repair of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

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by Neff DM

(Minimally Invasive Repair of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm; EVAR)

 

Definition

The aorta is the largest artery in the body. The abdominal part of the aorta is located below the diaphragm. It carries blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. Sometimes, the walls of the aorta weaken and bulge in one area. This is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). When the aneurysm reaches a certain size, it may need to be repaired. Endovascular repair of an AAA (EVAR) is done from the inside of the artery. The doctor inserts a stent graft into the area to strengthen it.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
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Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
 

Possible Complications

Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Chronic disease such as diabetes or obesity
Your risk of complications may also be increased if you have had:
  • A recent or active infection
  • Bleeding or clotting disorders
 

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor may:
Before the procedure:
  • Do not eat or drink for eight hours prior to the procedure.
  • Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
    • Anti-inflammatory drugs (eg, aspirin )
    • Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)

Anesthesia

Your doctor may use:

Description of the Procedure

You will lie on your back. You will receive medicine to ease pain and relax you. Once you are asleep and sedated, a breathing tube will be inserted into your throat and lungs. Sometimes, regional anesthesia will be used. A breathing tube will not be needed in this case.
The doctor will make small incisions in both sides of the groin. Catheters (thin tubes) will be inserted into the blood vessels and threaded up toward the aneurysm. Contrast dye will be injected through the catheters. The doctor will then guide a stent graft to the site. The graft will be placed into the weakened area and extended into both pelvic arteries. To guide each step, the doctor will use live x-ray images. Your vital signs will be monitored. Once the graft is in place, the doctor will remove the catheters. The incisions will be closed. Sterile bandages will be applied.

Immediately After Procedure

You will be taken to the intensive care unit (ICU). If you have a breathing tube, it will be removed. Your vital signs will be closely monitored.

How Long Will It Take?

About 2-3 hours

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. Your doctor will give you medicine to manage the pain during the recovery process. There is little discomfort from the groin incisions.

Average Hospital Stay

The usual length of stay is 1-2 days. Your doctor may choose to keep you longer if needed.

Post-procedure Care

At the Hospital
At the hospital, you will:
  • Gradually move around and increase your activity level
  • Slowly return to eating solid foods, as tolerated
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
  • Washing their hands
  • Wearing gloves or masks
  • Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
  • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
  • Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
  • Not allowing others to touch your incisions
At Home
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
  • Keep the incision areas clean and dry. Follow your doctor’s instructions for changing your bandages.
  • Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
  • Take pain medicine as directed.
  • Ask your doctor which activities are safe for you.
  • Your condition needs to be carefully monitored. Be sure to go to all of your appointments.
 

RESOURCES

American Heart Association
http://www.americanheart.org/

Society for Vascular Surgery
http://www.vascularweb.org/

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Cardiovascular Society
http://www.ccs.ca/home/index%5Fe.aspx/

Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery
http://canadianvascular.ca/

 

References


Abdominal aortic aneurysm. Society for Vascular Surgery website. Available at: http://www.vascularweb.org/patients/NorthPoint/Abdominal%5FAortic%5FAneurysm.html. Updated January 2010. Accessed January 22, 2010.


Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 22, 2010. Accessed January 27, 2010.


Abdominal aortic aneurism repair. Lancaster General Health website. Available at: http://www.lancastergeneral.org/content/greystone%5F27195.htm. Accessed January 25, 2010.


Dillon M, Cardwell C, Blair PH, Ellis P, Kee F, Harkin DW. Endovascular treatment for ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews website. Available at: http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab005261.html. Published January 24, 2007. Accessed January 22, 2010.


Endovascular repair of thoracic aortic aneurysms. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/aorta%5Fmarfan/endovascularaorticaneurysm.aspx. Updated August 2009. Accessed January 22, 2010.


Fotis T, Mitsos A, Perdikides T, et al. Regional Anesthesia versus general anesthesia in endovascular aneurism repair: the surgical nursing interventions. British Journal of Anesthetic and Recovery Nursing. 2009;10(1):11-14.


Minimally invasive surgery repairs potentially fatal aortic aneurysms. UCLA Health Systems website. Available at: http://www.uclahealth.org/body.cfm?xyzpdqabc=0&id=502&action=detail&ref=86. Published September 2006. Accessed February 2, 2010.

 

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