Aortic Aneurysm Disease
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is an abnormal enlargement of the aorta, the main artery in the abdomen and the largest artery in the body. The normal adult abdominal aorta has a diameter of 1.6-2cm. If an AAA grows to a large diameter (greater than 5.5cm), there is a significant risk of aortic rupture. A ruptured AAA is normally fatal without emergency surgery. It is preferable to treat large AAA in elective circumstances, thus minimising any potential complications.
AAA can be repaired by conventional open surgery or by the new, minimally invasive technique of stent-grafting. Both treatments aim to exclude the AAA from the circulation by introducing a prosthetic graft:
- Open surgery involves stitching a Dacron graft to the normal healthy aorta above and below the aneurysm.
- Stent-grafting involves passing a catheter-mounted graft from the femoral artery in the groin backwards into the aorta. It is held in place by metal stents which are an intrinsic component of the device.
Patients are selected for one or the other technique based upon a number of criteria including the shape of the AAA, their age and overall medical fitness.
Mr Chalmers has a national and international reputation in the field of aortic aneurysm surgery. His fully audited clinical outcomes are significantly better than published national averages (operative mortality is less than 1%). He has a particular interest in treating complex aneurysms and is Director of the Scottish National Service for the Treatment of Thoraco-Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms. He has major research interests in AAA and has published widely on the subject.