Aortic aneurysm can be an alarming diagnosis, but these aneurysms can be treated and repaired — often without major surgery. Northwest Regional Heart & Vascular’s team works with each patient to decide the best treatment based on their unique situation.
Abdominal and many thoracic aortic aneurysms can be treated with a minimally invasive, catheter-based approach called endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR). When a thoracic aneurysm is involved, this is also known as thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair, or TEVAR.
How EVAR works
During the EVAR procedure, the aneurysm is not removed. Instead, a stent-graft is inserted into the aorta to strengthen it. The stent-graft is a high-tech fabric and mesh tube that is expanded inside the aorta and fastened in place to form a stable channel for blood flow.
This type of surgery is performed through catheters (thin tubes) inserted into the artery. EVAR does not require surgically opening the chest.
The doctor first inserts a catheter into an artery in the groin (upper thigh) and threads it up to the area of the aneurysm. Then, watching on X-ray, the surgeon moves the stent-graft into the aorta to the aneurysm. The stent-graft reinforces the weakened section of the aorta to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing.
Advantages of EVAR
While not every aortic aneurysm is a candidate for EVAR, the procedure offers advantages over open-chest surgery when it is appropriate. The benefits include:
- Lower risk of infection
- Less blood loss
- Quicker recovery and shorter hospital stay