On Today's Menu: Aortic Repair! UPDATED

simplified drawing of a thoractic aortic aneurysm

And so we embark on yet another adventure.....if you can even call it that.

Thoractic aortic aneurysm repair. Sounds fun, huh? (sarcasm, folks!)

Hubby's aortic aneurysm is between 5.5 cm and 6 cm in diameter and, with Marfan's Syndrome, must be repaired as soon as possible. According to the surgeon we met with yesterday, there are 3 weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas..........for at least a week of that time, Hubby will be at the hospital with the vascular surgeon followed by 4-6 weeks at home recovering.

More detailed information about the surgery is below.

Silver Lining----umm, can't find it right now. But we do have a great surgeon working on Hubby. There is no way to avoid this procedure and so we are just trying to get through it.

Sounds like a great holiday season ahead.

What is an Aneurysm?

The aorta is the large artery that stems from the heart and carries blood to the rest of the body. The part of the artery that comes out of the heart and travels through the chest is called the thoracic aorta, and the part of the aorta that travels through the abdomen, or stomach area, is called the abdominal aorta. At the navel (bellybutton) the aorta splits into two arteries called the iliac arteries. Smaller arteries, like the renal arteries, branch off the aorta to carry blood to the kidneys and other organs.

An aneurysm forms when a part of the thoracic or abdominal aorta weakens and the wall stretches and expands like a balloon. As it balloons outward, the wall of the aorta becomes thinner and weaker. If the wall becomes too thin it may tear open or rupture causing massive internal bleeding which is a life threatening situation. Sometimes, the aneurysm is dissecting. This occurs when the layers of the aortic wall tear and separate from each other and blood fills the layers between the aortic walls.

(Note: Hubby's aneurysm is on the descending thoractic aorta and has a dissection.)

How do I know if I have an aneurysm?

Often, aortic aneurysms produce no symptoms until they rupture. A pulsation in the abdomen may be found on physical exam, or a bulge may show up on an x-ray film or sonogram. Many times they are diagnosed during an exam for another purpose. Acute symptoms of dissection or rupture can include chest or back pain (between the shoulders, or lower back). Any sudden onset of chest pain should warrent immediate medical attention.

During the procedure

Your Surgeon will make an incision in the abdomen. The aorta is exposed and the aneurysm is replaced with a synthetic tube. The incision is then closed with sutures.

(Note: Hubby's incision will run from under his left arm to the center of his chest down to his abdomen. All those organs (spleen, kidneys, etc) that are blockng the surgeon's view of the aorta will simply be moved out of the way for the time being.)


Brianne said...

OH NO! Not that you didn't know that it was going to have to be dealt with - just so sorry you have to deal with it at all. You doing okay? Anything we can do?

We're here for you guys! Even if it's just a daily email/phone call to harass you two into laughing...

-L said...

So sorry to hear that it has to be done before the holidays. If you need ANYTHING just let us know! Especially during those weeks of recovery.

We are keeping you guys in our thoughts.

TeamWinks said...

We are thinking about you, and are hoping for a safe, speedy, and full recovery.