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Abdominal aortic atheroslerrotic disease

By Anonymous April 30, 2010 - 6:53pm
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I am a 56 year old female diagnosed with this condition. What is it? How can I remedy it. I quit smoking 3 years ago.

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Anon

Thank you for your post and welcome!

I'm sorry you have been diagnosed with this condition, also known as AAA.

In terms of what this actually is, our Encyclopedia explains : An aortic aneurysm is a weak, bulging area in the wall of the aorta. The bulging develops from a weakness or defect in the aortic wall and tends to get bigger with time. The aorta is the body's largest artery. It carries blood from the heart for delivery to the rest of the body. The aorta travels through the chest (thoracic aorta) and the abdomen (abdominal aorta). Abdominal aortic aneurysms are more common than thoracic aortic aneurysms.

The greatest danger is that an aneurysm will rupture. This will cause heavy, uncontrollable bleeding (hemorrhage). Aortic aneurysms can also occur with aortic dissection. Dissection is defined as a small tear in the aortic wall. Blood from the aneurysm can leak through this tear and spread between the layers of the aortic wall, eventually leading to rupture of the vessel.

Congratulations on quitting smoking, that will help you enormously. But unfortunately, smoking is often a key factor with this condition and your years of smoking may have contributed to the damage done.

With regard to treatments, there are a couple of options :

Treatment includes surgery or stenting.

Surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm is called aneurysmectomy . It involves removing the portion of the aorta that contains the aneurysm and replacing it with a mesh graft.

With aneurysms of the thoracic aorta, the aortic valve may also be affected and need to be replaced or repaired. If the aneurysm involves important branches of the aorta, these vessels may either be repaired or bypassed.

When deciding whether to operate, the doctor will consider:

Your age
Your general health
Your symptoms
The size of your aneurysm
Associated disease ( kidney failure, stroke , etc.)
If the aneurysm has ruptured or not
If you've had a recent heart attack

Depending on where the aneurysm is located and how complex it is, stenting may be done. A stent-graft is a polyester tube covered by a tubular metal web. The stent-graft is inserted through a small incision in the upper thigh into the aorta. Using x-ray, it is guided through the aorta to the site of the aneurysm. With the stent-graft in place, blood flows through the stent-graft instead of into the aneurysm, eliminating the chance of rupture.

We have lots more information on our AAA page here, please check it out : http://www.empowher.com/media/reference/aortic-aneurysm#definition

Anon - what treatment has your doctor discussed with you?

May 1, 2010 - 5:58am
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