Condition: Abdominal aortic aneurysm
The aorta is a major blood vessel that runs from the heart through the center of the chest and abdomen. If a part of it weakens, it bulges like a balloon and may burst and cause dangerous bleeding. A large or fast-growing aneurysm requires prompt medical attention.
Although many patients experience no symptoms, signs could include:
- abdominal pain
- pain in the lower back that may travel to the buttocks, groin or legs
- feeling of a 'heartbeat' or pulse in the abdomen
If an aneurysm bursts, patients may experience:
- severe back or sudden abdominal pain
- signs of shock, such as shaking, dizziness, fainting, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and sudden weakness
- dry mouth/skin and excessive thirst
- nausea and vomiting
Minimally invasive treatment: stenting
Depending on the size of the aneurysm and how fast it's growing, your doctor may recommend watchful waiting, surgical repair, or a minimally invasive intervention. In this latter procedure, a Lutheran General Hospital interventional radiologist uses imaging guidance to direct a catheter from the large leg vein to the aortic aneurysm. A stent graft is passed through the catheter to recreate walls in the blood vessel. Compared to open abdominal or chest surgery, patients may recover more quickly with less risk of complication.
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