|Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
|Acute Abdominal Pain/Peritonitis
|Assessing Abdominal Pain
|Penetrating Abdominal Trauma
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms greater than 5.5 cm need surgical repair. The mortality risk of elective surgery is 6% and emergency surgery 50%. pain. AAA are common in those over 60 and should be considered in any presentation of back or abdominal pain.
|Initial AAA Management is surgical|
- High suspicion of AAA may need CT/USS
- ABC, High flow oxygen, Ask someone to contact vascular surgeons
- Insert 2 large bore cannulas and cross match
- Request 10 units RBC, FFP and platelets
- Reverse anticoagulants
- Give IV fluids cautiously titrated to give MAP of 65 mmHg
- Inform theatre, anaesthetist, and vascular surgeons
- An aneurysm is defined as a 50% ( x 1.5) increase in blood vessel diameter
- An Abdominal Aorta would be aneurysmal at 3 cm.
- Those greater than 5.5 cm need to be assessed for surgical repair
- Most begin below the renal arteries and extend down as far as the iliac arteries
- Chronic inflammatory process with loss of smooth muscle
- May be a genetic basis leading to a weakness in the wall.
- A reduction in elastin and collagen is seen and may be a factor
- Shape can be fusiform or saccular
- Wall tension increases with increasing radius so increasing risk of rupture
- The retroperitoneum may tamponade a bleed which can be stable until you give too many fluids and raise BP or dilute clotting factors.
- Smoking, Increasing Age, Male x 5-10
- Increased height, Increased BMI
- Connective tissue disorders
- A family history is a risk factor
- Risk factors for rupture: Female x3, Smoking, Low FEV1
- Sudden onset Abdominal Pain + Hypotension
- Presence of a Pulsatile expansile mass = Leaking AAA
- Gastrointestinal bleeds can be seen with aortoenteral fistulas
- Leaking AAA is a Surgical emergency
- Tender abdominal mass is suggestive of symptomatic aneurysm
- Classically an elderly male with severe back or abdominal pain which may radiate to groin.
- Small bleeds may cause abdominal/back pain and hypotension
- Distal clot embolisation leading to limb ischaemia
- Unusual presentations
- Atheroembolism to lower extremities
- Thrombosis (sudden severe ischemia of legs)
- High output CHF from aortocaval fistula
- GI bleeding from primary aorto-enteric fistula
- FBC, U&E, LFTs, Lactate, Crossmatch, ABG if needed
- Depending on urgency CXR, ECG, ABG
- Emergency USS: can be done in resus and shows aorta. If normal in size then a leaking AAA is unlikely. If diameter is 6 cm it could be a leaking AAA. Emergency ultrasound helpful only if aorta is clearly seen and completely normal often not helpful due to bowel gas and patient discomfort cannot rule out a leak from AAA
- CT Aortogram: can aid the decision for surgery quickly. It can help plan surgery. Is the patient a candidate for an emergency EVAR or straight to the OR for operative repair? However, delays can lead to deaths in the scanner. CT scan is best test for aneurysms being considered for repair. Can help define associated iliac aneurysms, eligibility for endovascular repair, possible suprarenal extension
- Conventional MRI has no advantage over CT for AAA
- Most AAAs rupture into the retroperitoneal cavity, which results in the classical triad of pain, hypotension, and a pulsatile mass.
- However, this triad is seen in only 25-50% of patients, and many patients with ruptured AAA are misdiagnosed
- Surgery is a CEPOD category 1 emergency and the patient should go straight for surgery. Ensure consented and massive transfusion protocol activated and that the anaesthetic team aware and ITU have a bed.
- Note that anaesthetic induction can cause hypotension so is not started until the moment that the procedure is about to begin.
- Appendicitis (associated GI symptoms)
- Diverticulitis (fevers, GI symptoms, focal left sided tenderness)
- Aortic dissection (ripping pain, extends into chest and upper
- Incarcerated hernia (physical exam, CT scan if exam inconclusive)
- Renal colic
- ABC, Oxygen, IV fluids and if suggested that the aneurysm is leaking then urgent resuscitation is needed. Urinary catheter.
- IV access + if needed get 2 units O negative blood and Group and cross match 6-8 units. Contact vascular surgeons and transfer if fit enough.
- Target is to transfuse to systolic pressure 80-90 mmHg. Monitor renal output with catheter. Intraarterial monitoring. Do not aim for normal BP.
- Prepare theatre (Operating room) Inform nurses. Needs Emergency repair - prognosis is poor. Abdominal muscles contract splints aneurysm. This is reversed with anaesthesia with subsequent hypotension.
- Emergency Laparotomy done and aorta cross clamped and aneurysm replaced with a Dacron graft.
- If the aneurysm is too low, or if iliac/femoral arteries involved a 'trouser' bifurcation graft is used to anastomose to the iliac or femoral arteries.
- Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) has an overall mortality rate of 90%. Mortality and complications including MI, Renal failure, coagulopathy are common
- Elective Management
- Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR) avoids a laparotomy and cross-clamping can be done on selective cases via the femoral artery. It can be done in a catheterisation laboratory and regional or local anaesthesia. Endovascular instruments inserted via the femoral artery. A stent graft will be inserted through the femoral artery and advanced up into the aorta to the site of the aneurysm. A stent graft is a long cylinder-like tube made of a thin metal framework (stent), while the graft portion is made of various materials such as Dacron or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and may cover the stent. The stent helps to hold the graft in place. The stent graft is inserted into the aorta in a collapsed position and placed at the aneurysm site. Once in place, the stent-graft will be expanded (in a spring-like fashion), attaching to the wall of the aorta to support the wall of the aorta. The aneurysm will eventually shrink down onto the stent graft.
- Elective open surgery shows no survival benefits for electively operating with stable AAA < 5.5 cm. Midline incision, aortic cross clamped, Heparinised. Dacron graft used. May be a trouser graft if the iliac arteries are included. Enclosed is an aneurysmal sac. AAA > 5.5 cm have an almost 10% 1-year risk of rupture.
- High risk individuals
- In some cases an operative procedure may not be
- Poor prognostic indicators include age >76 years
- Creatinine (Cr) >190 micromol/L
- Hb <9.0 g/dL
- Loss of consciousness
- ECG evidence of
ischaemia (3 or more = 100% mortality).
- Therefore, palliation may be more