The Most Advanced Care for Aortic Aneurysms
Patients across northeast Ohio have access to an entire team of skilled heart and vascular specialists through our comprehensive care at University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute. Our team provides coordinated evaluations and treatment of aortic diseases, including the most complex aortic aneurysm repair.
Minimally Invasive Endovascular Aneurysm Repair
Our heart and vascular specialists are experienced in the latest treatments and procedures, including nonsurgical and minimally-invasive therapies. While the goal of aneurysm treatment is to prevent it from rupturing, it doesn’t always mean surgery. Your team will work together to develop a personalized treatment plan that takes into consideration the size of the aneurysm and how fast it’s growing as well as your personal needs and lifestyle. Treatment may include:
- Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR): A minimally invasive procedure for stent placement, this provides a more stable channel for blood flow
- Medical monitoring
- Medications to lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol
- Open heart aneurysm surgery to repair or remove the aneurysm
Understanding Aneurysm Risk Factors
The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body and delivers blood from the heart to the rest of the body. An aneurysm occurs when there is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the aorta. Over time, the blood vessel swells and is at risk for bursting, also called aortic dissection. This can cause life-threatening internal bleeding.
Aneurysms occur most often in the portion of the aorta that runs through the abdomen, known as an abdominal aortic aneurysm, or AAA. A thoracic aortic aneurysm refers to the part of the aorta that runs through the chest. Aneurysms symptoms aren’t easily noticed, even if they’re large, making it especially important for patients to understand and manage risk factors for aneurysm.
Although the exact cause of aortic aneurysms is unknown, lifestyle factors can affect your risk, including:
- Hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis
- High blood pressure or hypertension
- High cholesterol
Other risk factors that can’t be controlled include age, family history and genetic conditions.
Diagnosing Aortic Aneurysm
Because an aneurysm usually has no symptoms, it may be diagnosed during a routine medical test, such as a chest X-ray or ultrasound of the heart or abdomen. If your doctor suspects that you have an aortic aneurysm, specialized tests can confirm it. These tests may include:
- Chest X-ray: A chest x-rays may be ordered to gain insight into the size and shape of the heart.
- Computed tomography scan (CT): Using x-ray imaging technology, our team creates cross-sectional images of the heart through CT imaging.
- Echocardiogram (Echo): To evaluate anatomy, valve function and blood flow through the heart, an echo creates a moving picture of the heart.
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA): A specific type of magnetic resonance image, an MRA looks at the blood vessels.
- Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE): Using a small probe, this imaging test allows a closer look at the heart’s structure and function.
For More Information about Aneurysms
For more information about expert care of aneurysms at University Hospitals, or to schedule an appointment, contact one of our team members at a convenient location near you.