Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is a weakness that develops in the artery located in the abdomen. The result can be a "bulging" of the arterial wall, and the pressure of blood in the artery continues to weaken the wall. Eventually, the bulge grows and can burst if undetected and untreated. Usually, AAA is asymptomatic until it ruptures. Some symptoms of AAA are a pulsing feeling in your abdomen, a severe or sudden pain in your abdomen or lower back, and occasionally, sores on toes and foot pain caused by dislodged tissue from the aneurysm.
Screening exams are offered in our vascular lab. Treatment often depends on several factors, including your age, overall health, location of the AAA, and the size, shape and condition of your blood vessels. Imaging tests create a picture of the arteries and helps determine the size and shape of the aneurysm. Tests include: Ultrasound, CT scan and an MRI.
AAAs can be repaired with endovascular repair or open surgery. Both methods involve placing an artificial graft inside the damaged artery. In endovascular repair, a small incision is made in the groin. The graft is inserted into an artery through the incision and guided to the aneurysm. This procedure has a short recovery period and is relatively new compared to open repair. In some cases, the size and shape of a person’s blood vessels rule out endovascular repair. In open surgery, a single large incision is made in the abdomen, the graft is then sewn into the artery above and below the aneurysm. It involves longer recovery than endovascular repair, but for some people it is the only way to repair the aorta. It has been used for many years and has a good long-term track record.
To find out if you are at risk for AAA or for more information, please contact our Vascular Lab in the Pen Bay Physician's Building at 207-593-5733.
Find out more about our Vascular Services at Pen Bay Medical Center.