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Descending aorta aneurysm

Hello. I am posting this comment for my father who is a 53 year old man with a descending aorta aneurysm. He has been diagnosed with this problem in 2006. The aorta was expanded 4.4 cm. Years later, now in 2010, his aorta is at a 4.9. He has been taking betablockers for 10 years. He has recieved three opinions. The first regular cardiologist said the operation is risky, and he should wait a year and re-check it. The next two doctors, who were both surgeons suggested to do he surgery soon, before it reaches a 5.0. He does have a stressful lifestyle, and is overweight about 20 pounds. He is in the process of losing weight. I would love for some advice from those people who have got the surgery and have been successful...please any advice would be helpful! We are looking for support groups to hear about personal stories, and we need to make the decision if we should go ahead with surgery or wait it out. PLEASE HELP :) THANK YOU!!!
6 Responses
Avatar universal
5.0 is the number my Dad's cardiologist suggested for surgical intervention.  Your Dad has the descending vs the ascending.  The descending is supposedly safer and has a better prognosis than ascending.  Our advice came from Hershey Medical Center in PA.  It's a tough decision your Dad needs to make.  I don't believe that minimizing the risk factor will be helpful at this point.  I don't have a vote here but I have been through a bleed with a family member.  You don't want to choose this path, from my experience.  Good luck and God Bless!
146110 tn?1247150090
My mom had a descending aortic aneurysm repaired in 2006.  She had hers repaired at the Cleveland Clinic.  They repaired the aneurysm endovascularly.  It was awsome.  She only spent a couple days in the hospital and did great after.  It is a serious surgery no matter what happens, but we had a great experience.  

In 2009 she had an abdominal aortic aneurysm repaired (also at the Cleveland Clinic).  Because of the location of this aneurysm, it was not able to be repaired endovascularly.  She had an open repair and it was a much more difficult surgery witha much longer recovery.

Were any of the doctors your father consulted with vascular surgeons?  That is who did my mom's surgery.  I also really recommed going to a large hospital that has a reputation for doing these surgeries.  My mom's cardiologist told her before the surgery that she could have it done at our local hospital but why would we do that when we could go somewhere where they do these all the time.  The doctors have just so much more experience.

As for when to have the surgery it is really a judgement call.  They say that when an aneurysm reached 5-6cm the risk of rupture is greater than the risk of surgery.  They are both risky so you really need to have a doctor you can depend on.  Best of luck to you!  Laura  :)
146110 tn?1247150090
I forgot to mention, if they do not do the surgery right away getting into better shape can only help in recovery.  My mom was a smoker and they recommended waited 3-6 months after she quit smoking but at that point her aneurysm was over 6 cm and the vascular surgeon did not want to wait.  She ended up having lung problems after the surgery.  So, if your dad can loose some weight or eat healthier or whatever that can make him stronger can not hurt.  (Do not have him do any major exercise without the doctors ok!)  The better shape he is in, the better the outcome from surgery!
Avatar universal
My Grandma had the surgery for her descending aortic anerurysm a little over two months ago and she is doing fine now. It was a sudden thing and we didn't learn about it till it was almost too late. Not to mention she had a bypass surgery about five months earlier in August 2011. She was coughing up blood for a long time before her bypass and we thought the bypass would've fixed it, but it ended up getting really bad. Blood began to pour out of her mouth for the first time on New Year's Day, so much blood that it looked like a crime scene. New Year's Day she was sent to Baylor Hospital (any other time it was Methodist Hospital). It happened again the very next day, Jan. 2, 2012. We didn't learn about the actual aneurysm till the day of the surgery (Jan. 3, 2011). The doctor performing the surgery said she was very lucky to be alive and if she had another attack where the blood poured out she would've most likely died and it was by God's grace that she stayed alive. It turned out that the aneurysm would open up and cause the blood to pour out. A stent covered in plastic (most stents look like fences and don't have a plastic coating) was placed in the aorta where the aneurysm was. It was scary, but she's doing really good now and is no longer coughing up blood. She has another aneurysm, but it's small and the doctors will check up on it and if it gets bad she'll get another stent.

If you have any questions than feel free to ask away.

It took a lot of prayer and God's grace that it was found.
Avatar universal
In 2014 I was 45 YO when they found i had a descending aortic aneurysm that included the base of my left subclavian artery.  They had know from tests 5 years before that I had a coarctation of the aorta that was near the base of the aneurysm, but the docs didnt think it caused the aneurysm.  

I ended up have 3 surgeries, this was after the surgeon decided to do it all in one operation, ie: first, reroute my left subclavian to my carotid artery from an incision in the triangle of my left collar bone, then open my left side up with a thoracotomy , removing a rib, deflating the left lung and replace the coarctation and aneurysm with a knitted Dacron sleeve.  

The 1st surgery went very long because i have a muscular chest wall & shoulders, plus my lymphatic system isnt nice & neat like other people's, its a jumbled up mess that took him much longer to carefully cut through. I had trouble keeping sedated so they had to sedate me so far that i had to be on life support.  

The next day in ICU the anesthesiologist had me cough .  15 mins later my wife comes over to talk with me and she sees ive been bleeding out and had lost alot of blood.  i was rushed to another surgery where they found a vein had broke loose.

They waited 6 weeks then did the big one.  As mentioned, they did a 2 ft thoracotomy, removing the 4th intercostal rib (I still have it with me in a baggie!) deflate my lung and gave me a new dacron aorta.  

I had complications, including a recollapse of the lung, with a hole in it, my kidneys shut down so i was on dialysis for 3 days, and due to nerve damage my left diaphragm was paralysed so i was working with one lung. Another issue was that with the surgeries, i had nerve damage to my left hand so its got neuropathy, numbness with occasional needles and pains.

My diaphram eventually came partially back, but i live in high altitude so i need O2 occasionally.  The surgeries seemed to have aged me 10 years and worsened an already burdensome case of Fibromyalgia.  Im on more meds then half the people in assisted living homes, but the damn government doesnt see me as "disabled"......  

My fathers family is just filled with aneurysms, my father had 3, my uncle 2, grandfather died from one, grandmother had one.... so, the docs keep a close eye on my.  along with a HUGE risk for cancer in my family also, I cant really see living past my 55th B-day.  Good times.....
Avatar universal
i really don't have any knowledge of this aorta? anyway my moms came to visit me from new York to Florida. and the last thing doctors visit said to my moms was to wait for results. which i don't know what kind of testing is done. but after she arrived 3 days visiting me she passed away, i thought different. cause i didn't have no knowledge of anything. well doctor said it was aorta aneurysm. i really didn't anything about this. what it meant until i did some research. now my  cousin said this is hereditary, oh is this true? should i have myself check for this? should i worried?
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