If the likelihood of an aneurysm rupturing is low, then it should be carefully monitored and measured to reduce the rate at which it enlarges. For the past fifteen years, we have maintained a Surveillance Program of careful follow-up for patients with small aneurysms. The primary technique is performing a computerized tomography scan (CT scan) every six months and digitizing the aortic images, so a thorough assessment of the aneurysm diameters, surface area, and volume can be obtained from comparisons of one scan to the next.
Rapid changes in the size or shape of an aneurysm or gradual enlargement to a dangerous size can be promptly detected, and elective surgery can be performed. In those patients whose aneurysms do not require an operation, control of factors which influence the rate at which an aneurysm enlarges can postpone the need for surgery. Medical therapies to achieve this include: careful control of high blood pressure in those individuals in whom it is present, use of a class of medications called beta-blockers, cessation of cigarette smoking, and participation in a program of moderate exercise.
Aortic Aneurysm Program