If you have an aortic aneurysm, treatment depends on the location, size and cause of the aneurysm, and how fast it is growing. Treatment may include careful monitoring, surgery, medications, and/or lifestyle changes. If your doctor has recommended watching the progression of your aneurysm, read Living With an Aortic Aneurysm to learn more.
In some cases, your aorta may need to be repaired. Depending on the section of the aorta that needs to be fixed, this may be done through:
- Open surgery: Repairing the aorta with surgery involves opening the chest, usually through the sternum (called a sternotomy). The aorta is the source of blood for the heart, so repair requires the heart to be stopped and protected using a heart-lung bypass machine. If the section needing to be fixed is the ascending aorta, then open surgery is the only option. The extent of the repair affects the approach of the operation. Two main approaches are ascending or hemi-arch replacement.
- Procedure called stenting: In this procedure, metal support stents are inserted through a blood vessel without open surgery. Stenting often can be done for the abdominal aorta and the descending thoracic aorta. The structure of the ascending aorta makes it difficult to use a stent.