The aorta is the largest artery in your body.
It runs through your chest (thoracic aorta) and down through your abdomen (abdominal aorta). Your aortic root is the section of this artery that attaches to your heart. An aneurysm is a thickening or bulge in the wall of an artery. Left untreated, an aneurysm can be life threatening. In some cases your surgeon may recommend repair of the diseased area of your aortic root.
What happens during aortic root repair?
Aortic root repair is done under general anaesthetic. The procedure time will depend on your own medical situation. Discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon.
Your surgeon will make an incision (cut) in your chest, opening your breastbone and exposing your heart. They may use a bypass machine to redirect the blood in your heart during this procedure.
If your aortic valve is in good condition your surgeon may remove the diseased portion of your aortic root and replace it with tube graft made of polyester. This graft is secured by stitches. Your aortic valve is implanted inside the graft and it is reconnected to the coronary arteries it feeds. The advantage of this procedure is that your own aortic valve is maintained and you will not need to take blood thinning medication.
They will close your breastbone and any incision(s) with stitches or staples and apply dressings to the wounds.
You will be moved to an intensive care area where we will monitor you for at least the first 24 hours. You may be on a ventilator to help you breath. You will be given pain medication but be sure and let us know if you feel this medication is not effective.
Once you are stable, you will be transferred to a ward. You may still have drains and pacing wires attached to your body to help us continue to monitor your vital signs. A thin tube (catheter) will be in place in your bladder allowing you to pass urine.
Going home after aortic root repair
You may need to stay in hospital 5-10 days. Our physiotherapy team will help you get mobile and give you advice on how to get back to normal activity levels.
You will not be able to drive for at least 6 weeks so please arrange for someone to drive you home on your day of discharge.
Follow the instructions you are given about wound care and having a bath or shower. You may need to have your stitches or staples removed in your GP’s office.
Discuss any return to work with your consultant.
As with any surgical procedure there could be complications such as:
- Blood clots
Specific complications of this procedure may include:
- Failure of graft or repair
- Irregular heartbeat
- Kidney problems
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