Aortic Aneurysm

Etiology and Pathophysiology
■ Weakness in vessel → protrusion and possible rupture

Risk Factors
■ Atherosclerosis, trauma, congenital weakness, infection, inflammation
■ HTN, smoking

Signs and Symptoms
■ May be symptom-free; may be able to palpate a pulsating mass
■ Dissecting aneurysm: Sudden severe chest pain extending to back,
shoulder, epigastrium, abdomen; diaphoresis; ↑P

■ Confirm diagnosis with CT, MRI, sonogram
■ Repair with graft
■ ↓BP with antihypertensives to ↓risk of rupture or extension

Nursing Management
■ Monitor BP, Hgb/Hct
■ Assess for sudden ↑pain (may signal impending rupture)
■ Teach to avoid activities that ↑intra-abdominal pressure (sneezing, coughing, vomiting, straining at stool)
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