Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Care

Learn what care is required for the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair procedure. Find out what you need to do prior to the procedure, how long it will take, if you will be required to stay in the hospital and what the postoperative care is.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Details

Alternate Names for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair:
AAA repair

What to Expect

The procedure varies. It can be done before a rupture (preventive) or after a rupture (emergency). The preventive procedure is outlined here.

Prior to Procedure

Your doctor will likely do some of the following:

  • CT scan -a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the abdomen
  • MRI scan -a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the abdomen
  • Abdominal ultrasound -a test that uses sound waves to examine organs in the abdomen
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)-a test that records the heart's activity by measuring electrical currents through the heart muscle
  • Chest x-ray -a photograph-like image of the heart and lungs that uses a small dose of radiation to create a picture

Your doctor may also ask you to see a cardiologist (a doctor who specializes in heart conditions). The cardiologist will check your heart before surgery.

Before the procedure:

  • You may need to stop taking certain medicines one week before. Talk to your doctor about your regular medicine, especially:
    • Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
    • Blood-thinning medicines (eg, clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin), or ticlopidine (Ticlid))

On the day of the procedure, you will be given an antibiotic by IV (a needle in your hand or arm). You may also be given a laxative or enema to clear out your bowels.


General anesthesia will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery. It is given through an IV.

Description of Procedure

In most cases, an incision is made from the breastbone to below the belly button. The doctor clamps the aorta slightly above and below the aneurysm. Any blood clot on the inside of the aorta is removed. An artificial wall made of Dacron is used to strengthen the area. This is called a graft. The graft will be stitched to the normal aorta on either side. Then the clamps are removed. The wound is closed with stitches.

How Long Will It Take?

About 4-6 hours

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. Most people will be sore after the procedure and will be given pain medicines.

Average Hospital Stay

This varies depending on your overall condition. Ask your doctor how long you should plan to stay.

Post-procedure Care At the Hospital

While you are recovering at the hospital, you may receive the following care:

  • You will be sent to the intensive care unit for monitoring.
  • You will have tubes in place, which may include the following:
    • Urinary catheter-monitors urine output
    • Arterial catheter-monitors blood pressure
    • Central venous catheter-monitors pressure in the heart
    • Epidural catheter-provides pain medicine
    • Nasogastric tube-inserted through the nose and into the stomach to remove secretions and provide nutrition until your intestines regain normal function

At Home

When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Follow any discharge instructions to care for the wound.
  • Gradually return to your normal activities.
  • To help prevent further problems, you and your doctor will need to work to increase your overall health. Atherosclerosis and high blood pressure should be managed carefully. This can be done with medicines and a healthful lifestyle. If you are a smoker, you should talk to your doctor about quitting.


Learn what Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair is
What Is
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Reasons For Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair
Reasons For
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Complications
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Details
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair Results
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
When to Contact Doctor about Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO