Should You Get Surgery for and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?

Last Editorial Review: 1/11/2018

Ask the experts

I have been told I have a "AAA" 4.73cm. it has only grown .5cm this year. I also have a very serious heart condition with 42% of my lower tissue dead. I also have a major pulmonary asthmatic breathing problem. Will I be a risk for an operation to repair the aortic aneurism?

Doctor's Response:

Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) are a ballooning or widening of the main artery in the abdomen, the aorta. Unfortunately, the widening causes weakness in the wall and can end in the aorta rupturing with catastrophic consequences.

The chances of rupturing of an AAA increase as the diameter of the aorta increases, with the measurement of 5cm. generally being used to recommend surgery if the patient is capable of withstanding this major repair procedure. Many patients with AAA have underlying diseases which increase this surgical risk; a thorough preoperative workup and a hospital with a good track record for AAA repairs would be strongly recommended.

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