The nationally recognized cardiovascular specialists affiliated with Memorial Hermann Health System are dedicated to providing patient-centered, comprehensive care. Using a combination of cutting-edge technology and a commitment to exceptional patient experience, we diagnose, treat and manage a full range of cardiovascular conditions.

From diagnostic tests to minimally invasive procedures to complex surgical options, our award-winning specialists help patients recover faster and manage cardiac conditions so they can get back to their everyday lives.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm results in thousands of deaths each year. With endovascular abdominal aneurysm repair (EVAR), we are able to correct problems in the aorta with a minimally invasive procedure, without the risks and lengthy recovery time associated with traditional open surgery.

What Is Endovascular Abdominal Aneurysm Repair (EVAR)?

Endovascular abdominal aneurysm repair (EVAR) is a minimally invasive procedure to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It begins at the base of the heart and extends down through your chest and into your abdomen. The portion of the aorta that is located in the abdomen is called the abdominal aorta.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is an enlarged, bulging section of the abdominal aorta. The bulge is caused by a weakened section of the artery wall that is at risk of tearing or rupturing which often results in death. In an EVAR procedure, the weakened section of the artery wall is repaired with a stent-graft.

Who Is at Risk for an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?

Risk factors for having damage to the aortic walls and developing an aortic aneurysm include:

How Does Endovascular Abdominal Aneurysm Repair (EVAR) Work?

The minimally invasive EVAR procedure involves making small dime-sized incisions in the groin and threading catheter tubes through the femoral artery (located in the thigh) and into the aorta.

A fabric covered metal stent is inserted and guided through the artery to the affected area. The stent is then inserted into to the weakened portion of the artery, and it will remain there indefinitely. This will relieve pressure on the artery to prevent rupture.

Depending on your specific condition, your doctor may use local anesthesia and you will be awake during the procedure. Sometimes general anesthesia is needed, and you will be asleep during the procedure.

Benefits of Endovascular Abdominal Aneurysm Repair (EVAR)

Because EVAR is a minimally invasive procedure, it has fewer risks and faster recovery than traditional open surgery. Patients who undergo EVAR have lower morbidity rates and shorter recovery times, and can usually resume normal activity a week after surgery.

What To Expect During the Procedure

A specialized surgeon and team of vascular care providers will perform the EVAR procedure. Here is what you can expect:

You will be given either local or general anesthesia to prepare for the procedure.

The surgeon will make a small incision in your groin area and locate an artery. Next, a thin catheter is inserted into the artery. Using X-ray technology, the surgeon will guide the catheter to the location of the aneurysm.

When it reaches the correct location, the surgeon will then insert a stent graft into the catheter and guide it to the aneurysm. Once the stent graft is in place, it will be expanded and left in the aorta to prevent rupture. The catheter will then be removed.

Risks and Side Effects

An EVAR procedure is a less invasive way to repair an abdominal aneurysm than traditional open surgery, but there are still risks involved. Some of the possible side effects include:

  • Bleeding, bruising or infection at the site where the catheter was inserted
  • Continued blood flow through the aneurysm
  • Movement of the stent graft out of the proper position
  • Blood clots
  • Heart attack
  • Reduced blood flow through the artery

After the Procedure

Most patients will stay in the hospital for a couple of days. You may have pain or bruising at the incision site, and will probably need to take it easy for 1-2 weeks. Talk with your doctor about when it is safe to resume normal activities.

Your doctor may prescribe medication to help prevent blood clots from forming. Some patients will also need to take medication to lower their blood pressure or cholesterol. You will need to schedule follow-up imaging appointments to make sure the stent graft stays in the correct location and continues to support the artery. The aneurysm should get smaller.

As the aneurysm shrinks, your symptoms should lessen and your quality of life will improve. Before the EVAR procedure, many people experience throbbing pain in their legs, groin or other areas of the lower body. When the stent graft is in place, you should start to feel better and have less pain. EVAR is a successful procedure for many people, because it allows you to be more active and get back to the activities you enjoy.

A healthy lifestyle is very important after having an EVAR procedure. To help reduce the risk of further cardiovascular concerns, you should eat a healthy diet, limit alcohol use, stop smoking and commit to regular exercise.

Scheduling an Appointment

If an abdominal aortic aneurysm is causing pain or other symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. Memorial Hermann-affiliated heart and vascular specialists are committed to using leading-edge technology to repair aneurysms, with a focus on compassionate care and the best possible patient experience.

To learn more about EVAR and abdominal aortic aneurysm, visit Find a Doctor to schedule an appointment.

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