The aorta is the largest artery in the human body. It extends from the top of the left ventricle of the heart and extending to the abdomen before splitting into two smaller arteries. The aorta carries blood away from the heart and delivers it throughout the body. Aortic disease refers to the development of an aneurysm in the aorta.
An aneurysm is an area of the artery wall that is weak or which balloons out. The condition is most often caused by the buildup of plaque on the artery lining. An aneurysm usually occurs in the chest or belly and usually presents no symptoms. Only a few people experience back, chest, or abdominal pain. As a result, the aortic disease is usually found while testing for a different condition.
An aortic aneurysm that occurs in the chest is called “Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm or TAA.” In the abdomen, it is called “Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm or AAA.” The majority of aneurysms occur in the infrarenal aorta in the abdominal area below the kidneys. You may not need treatment for a small aneurysm that causes no symptoms. Larger ones and those that are bleeding should be surgically repaired before they rupture.
Non-Invasive and Invasive Diagnostic Tests
At Vascular Health Centers, we use a variety of testing methods to diagnose aortic disease. These include an abdominal ultrasound to view the inside of the body using sound waves, CT scan which uses x-rays, and CT angiogram. The latter is the most precise test for detecting the aneurysm’s location, size, and diameter. Patients must fast and receive an injection of contrast for this diagnostic option.
An angiogram is a type of invasive testing. The vascular surgeon inserts a catheter into a vein in your arm to provide you with intravenous fluids and mild sedatives during the test. Dye is injected into the arm to create a clearer x-ray of an aneurysm.
Treating Aortic Disease
Our medical team will use surgery to repair your aortic artery. Depending on your lifestyle habits, you may also need to make some changes to reduce your risk of a recurrence. Although you can’t control your age or your family history of aortic disease, you can stop smoking, get more exercise, and lose weight.
The percutaneous EVAR, or PEVAR, is the next generation of patient-centered options for aortic aneurysm repair. Using the preferred Endologix PEVAR procedure, the vascular surgeon makes a puncture incision of about .5cm in each leg. They then place closure devices on one side prior to the delivery of an endograft. The vascular surgeon uses the endograft to make the repair and then ties the closure device sutures. The vascular surgeon places a closure device on the other side.
Standard endovascular repair requires incisions of about 5cm in both legs near the groin so the physician can visualize the access artery. In comparison, those made using the Endologix PEVAR procedure are so small, the surgeon can close them with a single suture or even with a small bandage.
Endologix is a California-based and publicly-held company trading on NASDAQ: ELGX. Many vascular surgeons prefer the Endologix PEVAR procedure because it has shown to reduce the procedure time and the need for post-operative pain relief. It also minimizes the risk of pain complications and minimizes the risk of wound complications. All of these factors contribute to a better experience and greater patient satisfaction.
Your PEVAR Specialists
Vascular Health Centers is home to a team of specialists who rely on the most advanced methods of diagnosis and treatment to provide the best quality of patient care. Our vascular staff is committed to providing you with the treatment that will facilitate a fast and effective recovery so you can get back to the things and people that matter most to you.