Questions to Discuss with Your Doctor:
- What tests have been done to measure the size of your aneurysm?
- How large is it?
- Has it increased in size?
- Do you have pain in your abdomen or back?
- How long have you had this pain?
- What brings it on?
- How long does it last?
- Are you doing everything possible to address the risk factors
that can worsen this disease (smoking cessation, treating elevated
blood pressure and cholesterol, and controlling diabetes)?
- What medications are you taking to control your risk factors?
- Are you taking them regularly?
- Are you having side effects?
- Should you be taking a daily aspirin?
- Do you have any other medical problems?
- Have you had a stroke or heart attack? These are important
in determining your risk of surgery to repair the aneurysm.
- Do you know when you should be referred to a vascular surgeon?
(Be sure to ask how often the surgeon performs this operation).
- Do you get chest pain or pressure with exertion or at rest?
If so, you may have coronary artery disease.
- Do you have sudden brief episodes of blindness (like a shade
being pulled over your eyes) or sudden episodes of weakness in
an arm or leg, or difficulty speaking? These could be warning
symptoms of stroke.
- Do you get short of breath when you lie down or exert yourself?
- Do you awaken in the middle of the night short-of-breath?
- Do your ankles swell? If so, you may have congestive heart
- Do you get pain in your leg muscles when you walk? If so, you
may have peripheral vascular disease.
Your Doctor Might Examine the Following Body Structures or Functions:
- Heart rate, blood pressure, weight
- Abdomen (palpate the aneurysm to assess the size and tenderness
of the aneurysm)
- Neck and limb arteries (for abnormal noises and strength of
the arterial pulsation)
- Heart and lungs
Your Doctor Might Order the Following Lab Tests or Studies:
- Blood tests to evaluate your kidney function
ultrasound to assess the size and location of the aneurysm
(see p. 140)
CT scan to evaluate the size and location of the aneurysm
(see p. 141)
- MRI to evaluate
the size and location of the aneurysm (see p. 143)
- Angiography to evaluate the size and location of the aneurysm
(see p. 139)
- If surgery is planned, your doctor may want to evaluate you
for the presence of coronary disease. This preoperative assessment
may involve an electrocardiogram (see p. 135), an exercise stress
test (see p. 660) or an echocardiogram (see p. 665)