Endovascular Aortic Aneurysm Repair: Before Your Procedure

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What is endovascular aortic aneurysm repair?

Anatomy of the aorta

Endovascular aortic aneurysm repair fixes an aneurysm in your aorta. An aneurysm is a weak or bulging part of a vein or artery. Your aorta is a large artery. It carries blood from your heart through your belly to the rest of your body.

If you don't fix this problem, your aorta could burst. And this can cause death.

Your doctor will use a special man-made tube to fix your aorta. This is called a stent graft. After the procedure, your blood will flow through the stent graft. It will not push on the aneurysm.

To do the procedure, the doctor makes two cuts in your groin area. These are called incisions. Then the doctor puts small tubes into the arteries in that area. The tubes are called catheters. The doctor first uses the catheters to put dye in your arteries. The dye makes your aorta show up on X-rays. Next, the doctor uses wires inside the catheters to move the stent graft through the arteries and up to your aorta. After the stent graft is in place, the doctor takes out the catheters and wires. Then he or she uses stitches to close the incisions. You will have scars that fade with time.

You will probably spend 1 to 3 days in the hospital. You may be able to return to work and many of your daily activities 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

What happens before the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your procedure. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before the procedure. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You will be asleep during the procedure.
  • The procedure will take about 1 to 4 hours.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your procedure. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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