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Living with an aneurysm can be stressful. That’s why Valley developed a program devoted to the surveillance and management of thoracic aortic aneurysms, including bicuspid aortic valve.
The Valley Approach to Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms
Diagnosis: We use advanced cardiac imaging to pinpoint the location of your aneurysm; this is critical to determine your risk of rupture and how your aneurysm should be managed. We also look for other heart issues that affect your aneurysm’s management. For example, aortic valve issues such as aortic regurgitation (leaking valves) or aortic stenosis (blocked or narrowed valves) frequently occur with both BAV and thoracic aortic aneurysms.
Risk assessment: Determining your aneurysm’s risk of rupture is essential to providing you with peace of mind. Many doctors pay attention to only the maximum diameter of the aneurysm. At Valley, we use both standard methods and newly developed techniques to better assess individual thoracic aortic aneurysm risk.
Surveillance: We keep a close eye on your aneurysm’s characteristics to be sure surveillance instead of intervention, such as surgery, is appropriate. We offer patients the option to enroll in our TABAV (thoracic aneurysm/bicuspid aortic valve) registry.
The registry simplifies the surveillance and imaging process for you. Our registry coordinates:
- Pre-certifying you for imaging studies
- Arranging and scheduling the imaging
- Contacting you at each surveillance interval to ask about symptoms
Monitoring: Most patients only need surveillance and counseling alone. Occasionally, the team will recommend an intervention — ranging from stenting to open heart surgery — to prevent a complication.
- Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
- Bicuspid Aortic Valve (BAV)
- Aortic Root Aneurysm
- Ascending Aortic Aneurysm
Why Choose Valley for Thoracic Aneurysm Surveillance and Management
- Patient and family-focused care: Our team and your cardiologist will stay in close contact and remain on the same page regarding your care. The treatment is collaborative with you and your family at the center.
- Excellent patient outcomes for aneurysm surgery: We use an approach to aneurysm surgery that offers the most advanced brain and heart protection. Some aneurysms require special heart and lung bypass techniques due to their closeness to aortic arch vessels.
- Diagnosing and managing BAV: We have developed advanced 3D cardiac imaging techniques for diagnosing BAV even when cardiac echocardiogram cannot. These advanced techniques also allow us to detect subtle changes in aneurysms over time. BAV-associated aneurysms display more aggressive behavior in general, and some aneurysms smaller than even 5 cm may require intervention.
- More specialized risk assessment: We have developed rigorous thoracic aortic aneurysm risk guidelines to give you and your physician a better idea of your risk for aneurysm rupture. For example, we compare your aneurysm’s diameter to your overall body dimensions (using relative, rather than absolute, aortic size).
- Treating the full range of thoracic aneurysms: We specialize in treatment of all thoracic aneurysms and related issues, particularly those involving the aortic root (aortic root aneurysm). We offer specialized options for aortic root aneurysms, which require replacement of the aneurysm and either replacement or re-implantation of the aortic valve and the coronary artery origins. At Valley, we use a valve-preserving aortic root replacement option, known as the David procedure.
- Treating aneurysms with previous heart surgery: Our team has expertise in treating aneurysms in patients who have had previous heart surgery. For these complex cases, we use both traditional and hybrid (surgical plus endovascular) approaches, including endovascular stent graft, also known as EVAR (endovascular aneurysm repair).
- Personalized surveillance: Our surveillance program uses a team approach to reduce your risk of life-threatening aortic rupture or aortic dissection. The program creates individualized care plans that include education and monitoring.
- Support group for thoracic aneurysms: To address the emotional issues that come with living with an aneurysm, we have a thoracic aneurysm support group. This group provides a supportive environment for thoracic aortic aneurysm patients to share stories, concerns and advice with fellow patients and their loved ones.