Diagnosing, Treating, and Managing a Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

Previously published in Examiner
Conclusion of the Thoracic aortic aneurysm series

The Montreal Neurological Institute is a world renown research center and hospital specializing in the diseases of the brain.

One of the scariest conditions to think about is having a brain aneurysm. Many Montrealers automatically think death when they think aneurysm, but how many people actually know what an aneurysm is?

Screening and diagnoses continued :

CT Scan

This scan measure radiation in the body and changes it is to electrical signals.

MRA (Magnetic resonance angiography)

MRA also produces signals converted to images the doctor can see to monitor the different types of tissues.

Routine screening and genetic testing may be done for individuals who have a family history of aneurysms.

Monitoring is the first choice of treatment, this is done when the aneurysm is small and there is no threat of rupture.

Medication will be prescribed if you have high blood pressure.

Beta blockers

Beta Blockers lower your blood pressure

Angiotensin II receptor blockers

Angiotensin II receptor blockers are prescribed for people with Marfan Syndrome or for people who need a stronger medication than beta blockers.


These medications are prescribed for lowering blood pressure.

You will be advised to cease chewing tobacco or smoking if you have either of these habits.

Surgery is recommended for large aneurysm and for people with any size aneurysms if they have Marfan Syndrome or another connective tissue disease. Your doctor may recommend surgery if you have a history of aneurysms running in the family.

Types of surgery

Open heart surgery

The damaged part of the aortic is removed and replaced with a graft. This surgery will take several months for recovery.

Endovascular surgery

Endovascular surgery is not as evasive as open heart surgery. This surgery requires that a tube covered in a metal mesh wire be inserted in the leg then run up to the site of the aneurism where it is fastened or hooked into place. This procedure weakens the aneurysm and prevents rupture.

Other surgeries may be required if there are other problems such as heart valve issues.

Unfortunately many people who have a ruptured aneurysm never make it to the hospital in time.

A healthy lifestyle is the best prevention against an aneurysm. It requires keeping your heart vessels healthy. You can do that by watching your dieting, getting in enough exercise, keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol down and ceasing to smoke or chew tobacco.