An Aortic Aneurysm is an enlargement of the largest artery of the body (the Aorta) more than 1.5 times of its normal diameter.
This condition is extremely dangerous, especially when the Aneurysm enlarges to more than 5cm. At this size, the risk of ‘bursting’ or rupture is much higher than the risk of surgically repairing it. If the Aneurysm ruptures, the death rate is almost 90%. Famous people who have died of this condition include Albert Einstein and Lucille Ball.
Patients with a family history, hypertension, high cholesterol and those beyond the age of 65 have a higher risk of developing this condition.
Traditionally, open surgery by vascular surgeons to repair this condition has a high risk of stroke, heart attacks and other serious complications because of the magnitude of the operation.
Patients also have to contend with a big incision, which is what surgeons call a midline Laparotomy Scar.
Increasingly over the past decade vascular surgeons have replaced the open repair surgery with Endovascular Aneurysm Repair or EVAR for short.
EVAR involves small cuts in the patient’s groins and through these cuts the stent device is deployed in the patient’s Aneurysm to seal it off and to prevent it from Rupturing.
This minimally invasive method does not require General Anaesthesia and shortens the patient’s ICU stay. Patients only have 2 small scars in the groin.
If the patient is suitable, the whole procedure can even be done percutaneously and under Local Anaesthesia; which means there are no cuts on the groin and the patient can have a quick recovery.
In Summary, EVAR has transformed the management of this serious condition and made treatment much safer and more comfortable for the patient, removing the need for long ICU stays and inpatient stays.
Dr Cheng, a vein doctor, consultant general and vascular surgeon in Singapore, is currently a regional proctor for simple and complex EVAR procedures. He has been involved in teaching and training doctors in the region in this life-saving procedure and has helped doctors in Vietnam kickstart this procedure in their own hospitals.