An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the wall of the aorta. While surgery was often required to repair this potentially fatal problem in the past, there is a minimally-invasive procedure called Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR, TEVAR, TA-EVAR) or Endovascular Grafting, which is currently being used to shrink aneurysms and remove their threat. EVAR takes place inside your aorta using long, thin tubes. Reinforced stents (tube-like devices) are brought in through the catheters and placed in the areas of the aneurysm to strengthen the aortic wall and cause the weak bulge to shrink.
Things You'll Need
- Local anesthesia
- General anesthesia
- Guide wire
- Stent graft
Endovascular Aneurysm Repair
Meet with your health care provider. Undergo the necessary pre-procedure tests to ensure that Endovascular Aneurysm Repair is the right option for you.
Prepare for the procedure. Take a sedative and local anesthesia or general anesthesia (depending upon your circumstances). The doctor will clean and shave the area of the insertion points.
Remain calm as the surgeon cuts into the skin over the femoral artery in your groin. He next threads a guide wire into the femoral artery until it reaches the aneurysm. This will not be painful since you have no nerve endings inside your arteries. However, you may feel mild pressure or a tugging sensation.
Watch the images that you see on the screen. You'll see the surgeon insert a catheter over the guide wire. He will then shoot dye into the tube (this procedure is called an angiography) so as to evidence the exact area for the stent graft to be placed.
The surgeon inserts a compressed form of the stent graft through a larger catheter (sheath). The guide wire carries the graft through your blood vessels until it reaches the aneurysm. The surgeon withdraws the sheath at the exact point of the aneurysm, causing the previously compressed graft to expand so that it fits tightly against the
artery walls. At this point, your blood is flowing through the stent rather than directly through the aneurysm. This reduces the pressure on the aneurysm. The lower pressure causes the aneurysm to shrink and, with the help of the stent, prevents it from bursting.
Tips & Warnings
- You could be eligible for Endovascular Aneurysm Repair if your aneurysm has not ruptured and the aneurysm is 5 centimeters or more in size.
- Endovascular Aneurysm Repair can take two to three hours, after which you will remain in the hospital for two to three days. Full recovery time is estimated to be about one month.
- You may need to stop taking certain medications before the procedure.
- Side effects of the procedure may include tiredness (for up to a few weeks) and low-grade fever or flu-like symptoms which last up to several days.
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