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Stenting of the Abdominal Aortic Artery: The Procedure

written by: Lashan Clarke • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 7/27/2010

The reason why stenting of the abdominal aortic artery is completed is because of the severity of having an aneurysm. With an aneurysm, the body has to increase the amount of blood going to the organs, and this causes an increased work on the heart.

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    An Overview

    The abdominal aorta is the part of the large artery called the aorta. This is the portion of the aorta located in the abdomen. The aorta is the main blood supply for all of the organs of the body. Depending on the person, it is susceptible to certain medical conditions that decrease the lumen of the artery. The two main medical conditions are aortic aneurysms and arteriosclerosis. There is decreased blood flow through the aorta when the lumen is narrowed, and thus decreased blood reaching the organs.

    An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs as the wall of the artery becomes weak and then the muscles within the wall start to widen. During this situation, the person may have an enlarged heart as the body tries to increase the amount of blood reaching the organs. The ballooning of the aorta will not be of a defined size, and the speed in which it will grow will vary.

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    Why Is Stenting Necessary?

    Stenting involves using a coiled metal tube that is placed inside of a vessel. The reason why stenting of the abdominal aortic artery is completed has to due with the severity of having an aneurysm. With an aneurysm, the body has to increase the amount of blood going to the organs, and this causes an increased work on the heart. The body’s blood pressure is also increased.

    As the size of the aneurysm continues to increase, this can create a dangerous situation in which the pressure can cause the walls of the artery to rupture. A ruptured abdominal artery can result in severe blood hemorrhage, and may be fatal if not treated in time. This is why stenting of the abdominal aortic artery is necessary.

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    How Is The Procedure Completed

    In the case of an aneurysm in the abdomen, the person will have more of a risk to a fatality if the aneurysm is located in the upper part of the abdomen, as it will supply vital organs such as the liver. The aneurysm can be removed and a stent graft inserted to replace the tissue removed. The surgeon can then use a catheter placed through the femoral artery. Through this catheter a stent can be placed that will travel to the abdominal aorta. When it reaches the aorta, the stent can be expanded into position to open and support the walls of the artery in this weak area. The use of a stent will also ensure that the lumen of the artery is kept opened for more blood to flow through it.

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    Complications

    With the use of a stent graft, there is less risk of the person having a hemorrhage and this one of the reasons why this method is used.

    However the complications associated with stenting of the abdominal aortic artery include infection at the site of entry of the catheter, blood clots from clamping the vessels, or even puncture to the wall of the femoral artery as the catheter is inserted.

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    References

    Web Source: Society of Interventional Radiology. "Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms." 2010. Available: http://www.sirweb.org/patients/abdominal-aortic-aneurysms/

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