Aortic Aneurysm/Dissection Surgical Options

Elective Surgery for Aortic Aneurysm or Dissection

While both aneurysms and dissections are potentially life threatening, they can be effectively treated when caught in time. Aortic surgery may be elective (scheduled) or performed on an emergency basis. Elective surgery is performed to prevent complications of aortic disease such as aortic valve incompetence, aortic rupture, and aortic dissection. Elective procedures include replacement of the aortic root, reconstruction of the aortic arch, and replacement of a portion or the entire thoracic (and possibly thoracoabdominal) aorta.

Emergency Surgery for Aortic Aneurysm or Dissection

Emergency aortic surgery is performed to repair life-threatening complications of aortic disease. Emergency procedures include repair of aortic dissection, replacement of the aortic valve in acute valve incompetence, repair of traumatic aortic transection, and replacement of a ruptured aneurysm.

It is important to note that there is a vast difference between elective and emergency aortic surgery. If a patient has a known aneurysm and surgery is advised, the decision to delay or forego surgery increases the risk for rupture or dissection, both of which are serious emergencies with far poorer outcomes than elective surgery. Moreover, emergency procedures are commonly performed at the hospital that is closest in proximity to where the patient developed symptoms. Many of these hospitals may not offer the same level of care and results as an Aortic Center of Excellence.