Aortic enlargement vs. aneurysm question

Specialties Cardiac

Published

Hi all you wonderful cardiac nurses!! I have a question abt something that I am struggling to find an answer for. Pt with COPD in the history, going for a cholecystecomy. Preop testing finds an enlarged aorta, measurement of 5, discussion of bringing in a thoracic surgeon to eval pt as well. I am working med-surg for the pre and post op inpt stay. Now, my question is....is enlargement the same as aneurysm? I am thinking they are two totally different things, however another nurse thinks they are the same.

Thanks in advance for helping me clear this up!

Editorial Team / Admin

dianah, ASN

8 Articles; 4,144 Posts

Specializes in RETIRED Cath Lab/Cardiology/Radiology.

from an article i found here: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/416266-overview

"an aneurysm is defined as a localized dilation of an artery by at least 50% as compared with the expected normal diameter of the vessel. . . .

"most aneurysms (80%) demonstrate progressive enlargement. the diameter of an aneurysm is directly related to its risk of rupture. for aneurysms smaller than 4 cm in diameter, the risk of rupture is less than 10%. once an aneurysm is 4-5 cm in diameter, the risk of rupture increases to almost 25%, with an associated mortality rate as high as 75%. the accepted surgical mortality rate remains less than 5% with the elective repair of these 4- to 5-cm aneurysms. . . "

do a search for "aortic aneurysm diagnosis" and see what else you can come up with.

the wording and phrasing used by the radiologist in interpreting any imaging (ct, mri, abd xray, us, etc) may help too.

since you mention bringing in a vascular surgeon, her mds may well suspect an aneurysm, and want to assess risk vs benefit of going ahead w/the chole.

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