Aortic Aneurysm
Aortic Aneurysm

Aortic Aneurysm Living With

Monitor your condition

As aneurysms increase in size, they expand more quickly and are more likely to rupture. Your healthcare provider may recommend regular imaging tests, such as CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds, to see how quickly your aortic aneurysm is growing, to decide if you need surgery, or to check for leaks and monitor repairs after surgery. How often these tests are done depends on your risk factors, the causes, and the size of your aortic aneurysm. People who had surgical treatment to repair an aortic aneurysm may need regular monitoring.

Know the warning signs of problems Learn the signs and symptoms of an aortic aneurysm and those of possible rupture or dissection. Contact your provider immediately or call 9-1-1 if you experience any symptoms that may be related to serious problems with your aortic aneurysm.

  • Aortic dissection, a tear in the inner layer of the aortic wall, causes blood to collect between the inner and middle layers of the aortic wall, which may lead to rupture of the aorta or not enough blood flow to your organs.
  • Aortic insufficiency and aortic regurgitation are both conditions that may occur when the aortic valve does not close properly because a nearby section of the aorta is enlarged. This allows some backward flow of blood back into the heart. As a result, your heart works harder and that may lead to heart failure.
  • Aortic rupture causes serious bleeding inside the body and can lead to shock
  • Cardiac tamponade occurs when there is pressure on the heart from fluid or blood build up in between the heart muscle and outer heart covering.
  • Kidney failure can happen when there is a lack of blood flow to the kidneys
  • Reduced blood flow to the bowels may cause inflammation and injury in the large intestine
  • Infection may occur after surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm. Pain, drainage, or fever may be some signs to look for that you may have a graft infection.

Prevent problems over your lifetime

To help you prevent complications due to an aortic aneurysm, your provide may give you some recommendations.

  • Continue any medicines as prescribed, including those to control other conditions such as high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.
  • Take antibiotics, if they are prescribed, to prevent infection of the stent graft before dental and other medical procedures.
  • Avoid lifting heavyweights or objects, stress, and other situations that might raise your blood pressure.
  • Quit smoking and adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle. Visit Smoking and Your Heart and Your Guide to a Healthy Heart. Although these resources focus on heart health, they include basic information about how to quit smoking. For free help and support to quit smoking, you can call the National Cancer Institute's Smoking Quitline at 1-877-44U-QUIT (1-877-448-7848).
  • Screen for aneurysms in other locations, such as your pelvis or legs.
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