After you are diagnosed with an
aortic aneurysm, your doctor will evaluate:
- Whether you need surgery.
you will be able to withstand a surgery.
- Whether you can
avoid surgery, at least for the present.
Factors such as the shape and flexibility of the aorta and
heart valves are also considered in deciding how to treat an aortic
When surgery is recommended
Aortic aneurysms that
are causing symptoms or enlarging rapidly are considered at risk of rupturing.
Surgery is usually recommended if either of these factors is present.
In men, surgery is also typically recommended for
abdominal aortic aneurysms that are 5.5 cm or larger
in diameter. In women, surgery may be recommended for smaller aneurysms.
Surgery is also
recommended when a small aortic aneurysm grows more than 0.5 cm in 6
Surgical repair of
thoracic aortic aneurysms is usually recommended when they reach 5.5 to 6.0 cm in
The decision to have surgery, delay surgery, or not
have surgery at all depends on other things too. These may include
older age or medical problems that make surgery more dangerous.
Medical treatment for aortic aneurysm
aneurysms (less than 5.5 cm in diameter) that are not at high risk for
rupturing are generally treated with medicine used to treat high blood
pressure, such as a
beta-blocker. Beta-blockers may decrease the rate at
which aneurysms grow. In general, the risks of surgery to repair smaller
aneurysms outweigh the possible benefits, because smaller aneurysms rarely
If surgery is not done to repair your aneurysm, you will
have regular tests to see if it is getting bigger.
You may need to
take medicine to treat
high cholesterol and
high blood pressure. These measures have not
been proved to slow aneurysm growth, but they can improve your life in other ways.
These measures reduce your risk of dying from heart attack and stroke.
information, see the topics
High Cholesterol and
High Blood Pressure.
Despite some claims, taking antioxidant vitamins has not been proved to
reduce the risk of aneurysm or the risk of rupture.
Lifestyle changes for aortic aneurysm
If you smoke, try to quit. Medicines and counseling can help you quit for good.
Your doctor will probably recommend that you make other lifestyle
changes, such as following a
heart-healthy diet, limiting alcohol, and exercising.
Try to do activities that raise your heart rate. Exercise for at least 30
minutes on most, preferably all, days of the week.