Both traditional (open) surgery and endovascular surgery with stent placement for
aortic aneurysm have risks and complications.
Infection and bleeding can be a complication from either type of surgical
Complications of open surgery for
abdominal aortic aneurysm may include
shock, erection problems, or heart, kidney, or lung
problems, which can occur with any major surgery. About 4 to 6 out of 100 people die during surgery or within 30 days after surgery.1 Your risk may be lower depending on your health
before surgery and where the aneurysm is located.
An enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) can have various causes. But it's usually caused by high blood pressure (hypertension) or coronary artery disease.
An enlarged heart may not pump blood effectively, resulting in congestive heart failure. Cardiomegaly may improve over time. But most people with an enlarged heart need lifelong treatment with medications.
Other complications include problems with the lungs and kidneys,
impotence, injury to the
fistulas in the bowel and gastrointestinal bleeding,
leaking of the repaired aneurysm, a disruption of the
lymphatic system, and reduced blood flow to the colon
Colon ischemia (reduced blood flow to the colon) may in turn result
in diarrhea, blood in the stool, pain and tenderness, fever,
sepsis, and unexplained rapid heartbeat (tachycardia).
If there is suspicion of colon ischemia, tests should be conducted and
appropriate treatment provided.
Complications of endovascular surgery with stent placement include
leaking around the stent, which may lead to another stent placement or
traditional (open) surgery. The risk of dying during or soon after an endovascular surgery is lower than the risk from open surgery. About 1 out of 100 people die during endovascular surgery or within 30 days after surgery.1 But over time, this benefit might disappear. After a couple of years after the repair, people who had open surgery may live as long as people who had endovascular surgery.
Endovascular surgery is a relatively new surgery, so the long-term effects are not yet known. You and your doctor will decide which surgery is right for you based on your health and risk factors.
Other complications may include problems from blood clots,
such as a
heart attack and
stroke. Post-implantation syndrome might occur,
often immediately after the procedure. Symptoms are fever, a
high white blood cell count (leukocytosis), and obstructions in the blood
vessels flowing to the kidneys.
Although rare, an infection of the graft is a dangerous problem that
requires removal of the graft. If you suffer from systemic infections or a weak
immune system or use intravenous (IV) drugs, you are at greater risk for a
Isselbacher EM (2008). Abdominal aortic aneurysms
section of Diseases of the aorta. In P Libby et al., eds., Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine, 8th ed., pp. 1458-1469. Philadelphia: Saunders
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
David A. Szalay, MD - Vascular Surgery
January 26, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
January 26, 2010
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