What is an aneurysm? An aneurysm is the bulging or ballooning of a portion an artery and is considered a serious health risk. Like a balloon that is over-inflated, an aneurysm may rupture as it expands and the walls of the artery weaken. Life-threatening bleeding can occur when a blood vessel with an aneurysm ruptures.
Aneurysms can occur in any artery, but they most commonly occur in a section of the aorta (the largest vessel in the body) that passes through the abdomen. These are called abdominal aortic aneurysms or AAA. The risk of aneurysm rupture is related to its size. Most small aneurysms will not need treatment in the beginning, but need to be watched because if they enlarge, they may need to be repaired.
Traditionally, repair of aneurysms of the aorta and its branches has required a large abdominal incision. Today the option of endovascular repair or aortic stent grafting is available. An endovascular repair is performed through small incisions in the groin. Endovascular repairs carry many of the same risks as the traditional method of surgical repair; however patients usually spend fewer days in the hospital, recover quicker, and experience less pain.
The Division of Vascular Surgery as part of BMC, a tertiary referral center, is improving patient care by utilizing outcomes measurement and advances in technology. The Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR) program is one example of the division’s approach to caring for patients with vascular disease. The Divisions of Healthcare Quality (DHQ) and Vascular Surgery work together to improve quality of life, patient satisfaction, processes of care, and clinical outcomes.
The Vascular Study Group of New England (VSGNE) Registry is a collaborative cohort of clinicians, administrators, and researchers organized to improve the care of patients with vascular disease. Baystate Medical Center is a member of this group which collects and shares information with participating hospitals. This information enables the staff at the Heart and Vascular Program to provide high-quality care to vascular patients at Baystate Health.
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