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What happens before an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) repair?

Open repair of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) -- a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the aorta (the largest artery in the body) -- involves an incision of the abdomen to directly visualize the aortic aneurysm. Before the procedure:
  • Your physician will explain the procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
  • You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
  • In addition to a complete medical history, your physician may perform a physical examination to ensure you are in good health before you undergo the procedure. You may also undergo blood tests and other diagnostic tests.
  • You will be asked to fast for eight hours before the procedure, generally after midnight.
  • If you are pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant, you should notify your physician.
  • Notify your physician if you are sensitive to or are allergic to any medications, latex, iodine, tape, contrast dyes, and anesthetic agents (local or general).
  • Notify your physician of all medications (prescribed and over-the-counter) and herbal supplements that you are taking.
  • Notify your physician if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary for you to stop these medications prior to the procedure.
  • If you smoke, you should stop smoking as soon as possible prior to the procedure, in order to improve your chances for a successful recovery from surgery and to improve your overall health status.
  • You may receive a sedative prior to the procedure to help you relax.
  • The areas around the surgical site may be shaved.
  • Based upon your medical condition, your physician may request other specific preparation.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.