If you or someone you love is dealing with a thoracic aortic aneurysm, you may have questions. For example, what, exactly, is a thoracic aortic aneurysm? This condition is characterized as an abnormal bulge in a weakened wall of the aorta. The condition can cause many different symptoms and can have life-threatening complications. Because the condition is so serious, it is important to treat it quickly.
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms
Each year, nearly 15,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with thoracic aortic aneurysms. This condition is the 13th leading cause of death in the U.S. Research shows that patients who let the condition go untreated have a much higher risk of death due to complications associated with these aneurysms than from any other cause.
Thoracic aortic aneurysm treatment Brooklyn can depend on the size of the aneurysm, the rate of growth, and your health. The larger the aneurysm, the higher the risk of rupture.
Watching and waiting: Sometimes your doctor will advise simply managing the aneurysm. Typically this is only advised if the aneurysm is small and you have no symptoms. This process will include getting a CT scan or MRI every six months and taking blood pressure medication to control your high blood pressure; this will decrease the pressure on the weakened area of the aneurysm. Additionally, your doctor may restrict some of your physical activities, such as heavy lifting.
Surgery: Your doctor may also recommend surgery. Surgery is often advised if you have chest and back pain, or pain in the jaw, neck and upper back. If the aneurysm is growing more than a centimeter per year or you show signs of an aortic dissection, surgery will be recommended. However, it surgery is often determined by your age and overall health, so your doctor will be able to best determine is surgery is right for you.
The Surgery Process
The surgery for a thoracic aortic aneurysm is an open-chest surgery. During the surgery, the weakened portion of the aorta is replaced with a fabric tube, called a graft.
Where your thoracic aneurysm has occurred determines where the incision for surgery is made. If the aneurysm is close to the aortic valve, an incision in the front of the chest will be made. One thing to note, if the aneurysm is close to the aortic valve, you may have to have the valve repaired or replaced.
If surgery is needed on the aortic arch, the procedure will be completed from the front chest area. A standard incision will be made on the left side of the chest.
The surgery is very complicated and will be done by an experienced thoracic surgeon. If you or your loved one need aortic aneurysm treatment Brooklyn, make sure to speak with your doctor right away about your options.