Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Expert diagnosis and treatments for AAA

When an artery weakens, it can sometimes bulge out and expand in any area of the body as an aneurysm. The most common site is in the abdominal aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the abdomen to the legs. This is commonly called AAA or Triple A.

What’s Involved in Diagnosing AAA?

When an examining doctor at DVVI discovers signs suspicious of an abdominal aneurysm, a Doppler Duplex Ultrasound examination –– which is a simple, quick, non-invasive test –– may reveal its exact size and location, especially for people at high risk of AAA. More advanced tests, like a CT scan and M.R.I., are usually included in the diagnostic workup. Once an aneurysm has been diagnosed, an arteriogram (angiogram) may be required to plan treatment.

Who Is At Increased Risk for AAA?

Patients who:

  • Are smokers
  • Have circulation problems in your legs
  • Have emphysema
  • Have heart disease, particularly coronary disease, previous heart attacks or a heart bypass
  • Have carotid artery disease or a prior stroke
  • Have high blood pressure

How Is AAA Repaired?

At DVVI, we prefer minimally invasive endovascular repair whenever it’s an option versus open surgical repair surgery. In this newer technique, a catheter, or small tube, is inserted into your arteries through a small incision in the groin. Under x-ray guidance, a vascular endograft is delivered through the catheter and placed inside the aneurysm. This endograft fits snugly into the normal artery above and below the aneurysm so that it forms a new pathway for the blood to flow. This excludes the aneurysm sac, which then usually begins to shrink. Patients go home the next day and are frequently able to resume normal activity by one week.