Why It’s Done
What Is an Endovascular Aortic Repair?
An endovascular aortic repair is done when an aneurysm is very large, growing quickly, leaking, or bleeding.
At times, you may have an abdominal aortic aneurysm that is not causing any symptoms or problems. Therefore, your doctor may have found out about this problem when you had an ultrasound or CT scan.
There is a risk that the aneurysm may rupture if you do not have surgery to repair it. However, surgery to repair the aneurysm may also be risky. In such cases, endovascular repair is an option.
You and your doctor must decide whether the risk of having this surgery is smaller than the risk of rupture if you do not have surgery to repair the problem. The doctor is more likely to recommend that you have surgery if the aneurysm is:
- Large (about 2 inches or 5 cm)
- Growing more quickly (a little less than 1/4 inch over the last 6 to 12 months)
What Are the Possible Risks of the Procedure?
Endovascular repair has a lower risk of complications compared to open surgery. Your doctor is more likely to suggest this type of repair if you have other serious medical problems or are elderly.
However, there are still risks for any surgery. These risks include:
- Blood clots
- Breathing problems
- Infection in the lungs
- Infection in the urinary tract
- Infection in the belly
- Heart attack
- Reaction to medication
The specific risks for this surgery are:
- Bleeding around the graft that needs more surgery
- Bleeding before or after the procedure
- Blockage of the stent
- Damage to a nerve, causing weakness, pain, or numbness in the leg
- Kidney failure
Before the Procedure
Carefully follow instructions given by your doctor about medications the day before and day of surgery.
How to Prepare
- Stop smoking as soon as possible to lessen the chance of many of the complications
- Get your vascular surgeon’s approval on the surgery
- Get any recommended tests done (blood tests, EKG, X-rays, etc.)
- Follow your normal routine
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat a normal meal the evening before your procedure
- Do not eat, drink, or chew anything after midnight before your procedure. This includes gum, mints, water, etc.
After the Procedure
What to Expect After the Procedure
Depending on the type of procedure, most people stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days after the surgery. Often, the recovery process for this procedure is faster and less painful than with open surgery.
While at the hospital, you may:
- Be in the intensive care unit (ICU)
- Have a urinary catheter
- Be given medication to thin your blood
- Be encouraged to sit on the side of your bed and then walk
- Wear special stockings to prevent blood clots in your legs
- Receive epidural into your veins or into the space that surrounds your spinal cord
You will need to be watched and checked regularly to make sure your repaired aortic aneurysm is not leaking blood.