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Cardiovascular 

Aortic Surgery

WHAT IS AORTA?

The aorta is the largest artery in your body. All arteries come out of the
aorta and carry oxygen-rich blood in the head, neck, extremities and vital organs such as the
brain, kidneys and liver. When a weak area of your aorta expands or bulges, it is called an
aortic aneurysm. Depending on the position the aneurysm can be defined as thoracic aortic
aneurysm (TAA) (close to the heart) and abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) (in the abdomen
area). Aortic aneurysms are serious health risks because they can burst/ rupture and can
cause death. The complications from rupture of aneurysm include internal bleeding,
infections and formation of thrombi. The dissection of the aorta can cause a blockage of the
blood flow in the main organs and serious damage to vital organs.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS? Usually there are no symptoms with TAA. Very few patients
with TAA notice symptoms and TAAs are discovered accidently. Possible symptoms include:
• Chest pain • Back pain • Abdominal pain • Shortness of breath • Speaking problems •
Paralysis • Coma

HOW IS THE AORTIC ANEURYSM DIAGNOSED? Due to no symptoms, the aneurysms
are mostly diagnosed during routine control from a physician with ehocardiography, X-ray or
computer and MRI examinations performed due to other reasons.

SURGICAL CORRECTION 9REPLACMENT) OF AN ANEURYSM If your TAA is small and
hasn’t reached the critical size, your physician may recommend “watchful waiting” and strict
control of blood pressure. However, if TAA is large or causing symptoms, you need active
and prompt treatment to prevent rupture. The surgical treatment included replacement
(correction) of the bulged or ruptured part of the aorta with artificial prosthesis (graft). How is
it done? – You’ll get medications that will help you to sleep and release you from pain – The
doctor will make an incision on your chest where the aneurysm is. – The doctor will replace
the aneurysm with and artificial prosthesis – graft – During the replacement of the aneurysm
the doctor will inspect the aortic valve with also might we needed to be
replaced/reconstructed together with the aortic arch. – The surgery will be 5-8 hours.

WHAT ABOUT AFTERWARDS? – You’ll wake up in ICU and may feel confused at first –
You’ll have a tube in your mouth and throat to help you breathe. It’s uncomfortable and you
can’t talk with it, but nurses will help you communicate. – The breathing tube will stay in until
you can breathe on your own — a few hours. – You’ll be hooked up to machines for
monitoring. – After you leave the ICU, you’ll move to a hospital room and you’ll start moving –
You’ll be discharged from the hospital when you’ll good, 10-12 days after the surgery.

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