September 30

Dealing with aneurysms

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Aneurysm refers to the dilation of a vessel. This dilation may occur in any part of the body, but is especially common in the brain and the abdominal aorta. Vessels dilate or enlarge when there is weakness in their walls, and if ruptured without treatment from Vascular Surgeon in Lahore there is risk of fatal complications.

Read on to know how to deal with aneurysms:

What is an aneurysm?

The enlarged part of the vessel wall is called an aneurysm, which grows with time and becomes larger. This means that if not treated, it may become large enough to rupture. Aneurysms occur because of weakness in the muscular wall of the vessels, and therefore, larger aneurysms are more likely to rupture, in comparison to smaller ones.

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High blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol and atherosclerosis are all risk factors for aneurysms. According to research, eating healthy with smoking cessation and working out helps to mitigate the risk of aneurysms.

Aneurysms are classified based on their location. Two of the most common sites for aneurysms include: the brain and the heart. The bulging aneurysm can take either a fusiform shape with a uniform bulge on all sides of the vessel, or a saccular shape whereby the bulge is only on one side of the vessel wall.

What are the locations of aneurysm?

As mentioned before, the common locations are: heart and the brain.

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Cerebral aneurysm

If the aneurysm is found in the arteries supplying blood to the brain, it’s called a cerebral aneurysm. The most common site inside the brain of an aneurysm is the circle of Willis, and an aneurysm at this site is called ‘berry’ aneurysm because of its appearance. If this aneurysm ruptures, it can prove fatal in 24 hours. In fact, ruptured aneurysms are the most common type of hemorrhagic stroke, known as subarachnoid hemorrhage.

A high percentage—about forty percent—of cerebral aneurysms are fatal. Of the remaining survivors, the risk of neurological damage and consequent disability is high.

Aortic aneurysm

Aorta is the large artery that supplies blood from the left ventricle of the heart to the body. Aorta has a diameter of 2 to 3 cm and a thick muscular wall; any weakness in this wall can result in an aneurysm, which may bulge beyond 5 cm.

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The most common site for aortic aneurysm is the abdomen—abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). If AAA is not repaired, the chance of rupture remains high. The survival rate for this aneurysm is only 20 percent in untreated patients, and 50 percent in treated patients.

Another site for aortic aneurysm is the thorax—thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA). It is a relatively rare type of aneurysm with survival rate of 85 percent with treatment, and 56 percent without treatment.

How to treat aneurysms?

Aneurysms when ruptured need emergency surgery. Without immediate repair there is risk of fatal bleeding. For Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, the treatment options include: open surgery to fit a stent graft, or the insertion of stent graft through endovascular surgery.

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Cerebral aneurysms are treated surgically only when there is significant risk of rupture. This is because the odds of brain damage secondary to the surgical procedure are high. If surgery is not the option, patient is given directions to monitor the risk factors—such as the blood pressure.

In case of rupture, as in case of subarachnoid hemorrhage, surgery becomes likely. In this case, surgeons aim to close off the ruptured vessel to minimize the chances of another bleed.

For people with any type of aneurysm, regular check-ups with Vascular Surgeon in Islamabad are mandatory to monitor the size and risk of rupture of the aneurysm.

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