aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection, endovascular stent graft, thoracic aorta



  1. Beste Jones, Lauren E. RN, MSN, ACNP-BC


The use of endovascular stent grafts is a leading technological advancement in the treatment of thoracic aortic aneurysms, and is being trialed in the United States as an alternative to medical management and traditional surgical repair. Aortic stent grafts, initially used only for abdominal aortic aneurysms, have been used for over 10 years in Europe and are currently under United States Food and Drug Administration investigation for the treatment of chronic and acute aortic aneurysms. Diseases of the thoracic aorta are often present in high-risk individuals, and, as a result, there is a high morbidity and mortality rate associated with both medical and surgical management of these patients. The development and refinement of endovascular approaches have the potential to decrease the need for traditional surgical repair, especially in high-risk populations such as the elderly and those with multiple comorbidities. Endovascular technology for thoracic repair has only been used in Europe for the last 10 years, with no long-term outcomes available; however, preliminary research demonstrates favorable early and midterm outcomes showing that endovascular stent graft placement to exclude the dilated, dissected, or ruptured aorta is both technically feasible and safe for patients. The article highlights the historical perspective of endovascular stent grafting as well as a description of patient selection, the operative procedure, benefits, risks, and unresolved issues pertaining to the procedure. A brief review of aneurysm and dissection pathophysiology and management is provided, as well as postoperative management for acute care nurses and recommendations for clinical practice.