An aneurysm is a bulge in the aorta, which is the main artery connected to the heart. An aneurysm is dangerous because it can burst and cause death. Aortic aneurysms usually occur in the abdomen below the kidneys (abdominal aneurysm), but they may occur in the chest (thoracic aneurysm) as well. 

Most aneurysms are caused by a breakdown in the proteins providing structural strength to the wall of the aorta. Normally patients experience no symptoms. However, people who have high blood pressure, smoke and have a family history of aneurysms, may be at risk of having an aneurysm. 

Surgery is usually required to fix the bulging aneurysm. St. Alexius Heart & Vascular Center was the first in the state to perform the new thoracic endoprosthesis procedure. During this procedure, a stent is placed inside the diseased aorta to draw blood flow away from the aneurysm by creating a new path for blood flow. This is a big step forward in terms of treatment options and within the next ten years this will probably be the standard way to treat aneurysms. 

The thoracic endoprosthesis procedure offers a much safer and less invasive way to treat aneurysms. The treatment offers a shorter hospital stay and patients make a full recovery in a couple of weeks. Previously, patients had to undergo an open surgery and had a much longer recovery time. 

St. Alexius Heart & Vascular Center is a specialist in general, thoracic and vascular surgery. They perform many surgeries of abdominal aortic aneurysms. Regular screenings for people who are at risk of having an aneurysm are the key to identifying and treating the condition early on. St. Alexius Heart & Vascular Center offers screenings and encourage those at risk to get checked regularly.