Aging & Health A to Z
Care & Treatment
If an aneurysm is found, your healthcare professional may watch it closely for signs of enlargement, and will order regular ultrasounds every 3 to 12 months, depending on the aneurysm’s size and location. A very large aneurysm may need to be repaired immediately before it leaks or ruptures.
During watchful waiting, your healthcare professional may prescribe high blood pressure medications to help keep your aneurysm from growing larger. The medications will decrease the force of blood flowing against artery walls. These include drugs that help relax the blood vessels, such as:
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers
- Calcium channel blockers.
Your healthcare professional may also prescribe blood thinners (anticoagulants) to help blood clots from forming in the affected part of the artery.
Once an aneurysm reaches a certain size, or if it grows too rapidly, or if it is pressing on other important parts of your body and causing symptoms, your healthcare provider may recommend surgery to repair the aneurysm and prevent it from rupturing. Several new, less-invasive techniques have been developed to surgically repair aneurysms.
Surgery involves removing the damaged part of your artery and replacing it with a synthetic tube called a graft. This can be done by cutting you open, or by threading the graft through a small puncture in your artery and fastening it in place at the site of the aneurysm (called endovascular surgery).
The type of surgery your healthcare professional recommends will depend on:
- The aneurysm’s location and size.
- Other medical conditions that may affect how well you tolerate the surgery and any complications that might arise during or after the surgery.
Your healthcare provider can perform emergency surgery when an aneurysm ruptures, but the surgical risks are much higher and the survival rate is lower.
Updated: March 2012
Posted: March 2012