The aorta is the body's largest and most significant artery, serving as the major conduit through which oxygen-rich blood from the heart travels to other parts of the body. A bulge or "ballooning" in the wall of the aorta (an "aneurysm") can be life-threatening if it ruptures. The surgeons of White Plains Hospital offer minimally invasive surgical approaches to repair thoracic aneurysms (which affect the part of the aorta in the chest) and abdominal aortic aneurysms (which are found in the part of the aorta in the abdomen) to fortify the integrity of this vital blood vessel.
Aneurysms can develop and grow for years without causing any symptoms. They often don't cause symptoms until they rupture, grow large enough to press on nearby body parts, or block blood flow. Symptoms of thoracic aneurysms may include pain in the jaw, neck, back, or chest; coughing and hoarseness; and trouble breathing. Abdominal aortic aneurysms may cause a throbbing feeling in the abdomen or pain in the abdomen or side.
Ultrasound is commonly used to diagnose aortic aneurysms and uses high-energy sound waves. Other tests that may be used include CT scans, MRI, and angiography (use of x-rays and a special dye to visualize the aorta).
The surgeons of White Plains Hospital insert a "graft" inside the aorta at the site of the aneurysm. The graft is a tube of flexible synthetic material. It is advanced to the site of the aneurysm through a catheter inserted in an artery in the patient's groin and provides a scaffolding to bolster the weakened part of the aorta. The procedure is performed at White Plains Hospital; patients stay in the hospital for one to two days and are typically able to resume their normal activities after two weeks. About 70 percent of patients with aortic aneurysms are candidates for this endovascular approach.