Harvard Heart Letter

Cautious confirmation for easier aneurysm repair

For some people, fixing a bulging aorta from the inside is an okay alternative to surgery.

When it comes to fixing a potentially deadly ballooning of the aorta, the heart's main pipeline for distributing oxygenated blood, how does a relatively new no-surgery procedure stack up against the traditional open operation? Although much hangs on the answer, it has eluded experts. A study from Sweden suggests that the kinder, gentler approach, called endovascular repair, is a good alternative to open surgery, at least in the short term.

Key points

  • It's important to fix a large abdominal aortic aneurysm (more than 5.5 centimeters in diameter).

  • Open surgery and a from-the-inside approach called endovascular repair can both do the job.

  • Which one is right for you depends on your age, your health, and a host of other factors.

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