Thoracic Endovascular Aneurysm

When a bulge develops in a weakened wall of the aorta (located in the chest), it is called a thoracic endovascular aneurysm. Based on its size, this type of aneurysm can be a life-threatening condition since the aorta is the major blood vessel that feeds blood throughout the body.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms typically grow slowly. While aortic aneurysms are small, they do not have symptoms, which makes them difficult to detect. Some aneurysms will remain small and never cause problems, but once they begin to grow, they can result in the following symptoms:

  • Tenderness or pain in the back and chest
  • Hoarseness and dry cough
  • Shortness of breath

Once symptoms develop and imaging studies reveal that the aneurysm is more than five centimeters in size, your cardiologist may recommend an endovascular repair.

Endovascular Aneurysm Repair

This type of surgery is performed inside your aorta using long tubes and imaging guidance to insert a stent graft that diverts blood away from the aneurysm. Using numbing medication and a relaxant, your cardiologist will make a small incision in a femoral artery that supplies blood to your leg. A guide wire will be fed through the artery and beyond the site of the thoracic aneurysm by the cardiologist. The stent, which is contained within a catheter, is guided to the site over the guide wire. Once in place, the catheter is removed, leaving the stent-graft to expand against the walls of the aorta on either side of the aneurysm. This reinforces the walls and helps the blood flow freely through the region.

This improved minimally invasive procedure helps you recover more quickly and has a lower rate of complications than a traditional surgical repair. Most patients stay in the hospital for a couple of days to ensure that the stent is in place. You will have some restrictions on your activities for a few weeks as advised by your cardiologist.

Learn What to Expect from Thoracic Endovascular Aneurysm Repair