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Aneurysms treatment

Aneurysms Treatment

 Aneurysms are bulges in the arteries caused by the force of blood pushed against the injured or weakened portions of artery walls. It can develop due to trauma, certain genetic conditions or other diseases which damage the artery. Perils from aneurysms are diverse, for instance, when it grows large and bursts, it can cause  internal bleeding; when it dissects one or several layers of the artery wall, heavy bleeding is caused and consequences are often fatal.

Due to the fact that most aneurysms happen in the aorta, the biggest blood vessel carrying the oxygen from the heart to the body through the chest and abdomen, most aneurysms treatments are focused on the aortic area, nevertheless in aneurysms types are diverse. It is very important to perform routine screening tests, as when symptoms appear, the disease has already developed. As it is usually the case, early diagnosis significantly increases the odds of a successful treatment.

In general, early diagnosed heart aneurysms can be treated with medicines (reducing the risk of rupture by lowering the blood pressure and relaxing blood vessels) or with surgery (replacing or reinforcing the damaged portion of the artery).

 Aneurysms – Types

Depending on the location of the aneurysm:

  • Heart Aneurysms – There are two main types of aortic aneurysms:
    • Abdominal aortic aneurysm – occurs in the abdominal portion, which can grow large without causing any symptoms. It is accurately detected by CT scans.
    • Thoracic aortic aneurysm – affects the chest portion above the diaphragm and does not cause symptoms until it is very large.aneurysms-treatment_Small
  • Brain Aneurysms – occur in the arteries of the brain and resemble a berry in size and form. Brain aneurysms can leak, causing a hemorrhagic stroke, or a type called subarachnoid hemorrhage can damage the space between the brain and the tissues covering it. It is almost always life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
  • Peripheral Aneurysms – they refer to aneurysms in any area outside the brain or the heart, but the most common locations include the carotid arteries (on each side of the neck), the femoral arteries (in the groin) and the popliteal arteries (behind the knees). Peripheral aneurysms can cause swelling, numbness and pain.

 Aneurysms -Treatment

As said before, medication and surgery are the best treatment options for large aneurysms. Small ones do not need treatment, but constant screening. Aneurysms treatment aims to:

  • Prevent aneurysm growth
  • Reverse damage to body structures
  • Treat a rupture or a dissection
  • Allow the patient to continue with normal daily life.

Medicine – the most common medicines used for lowering blood pressure and relaxing the vessels are beta blockers and calcium channel blockers.

Surgery – when there is risk of dissection, or if the aneurysm is growing too quickly, two types of surgery may be performed:

  • Open abdominal – involves a major incision in the chest and the removal of the aneurysm. It takes 3-6 hours of inpatient procedure under general anesthesia, 8 days at the hospital and 1 month of full recovery.
  • Endovascular Repair – involves the insertion of a graft by using a catheter to strengthen the aorta. Due to faster recovery, it is a preferred method over open abdominal surgery.