Endovascular Stent Grafting | Cardiothoracic Surgery | Loyola Medicine

Endovascular Stent Grafting

Overview and Facts about Endovascular Stent Grafting

Endovascular stent grafting is a type of cardiac/aortic surgery to repair aneurysms. This procedure is also known as endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR).

An aneurysm is a weak, bulging spot in the artery wall. Without treatment, aneurysms can rupture and cause a stroke or bleeding. EVAR reinforces the artery to prevent ruptures.

EVAR procedures use a stent graft. This artificial structure strengthens and supports the artery wall. Stent grafts help aneurysm patients avoid life-threatening complications. 

What to Expect during Endovascular Stent Grafting

EVAR procedures take place at the hospital. Before the procedure, your surgeon determines what type of graft you need. You may receive several blood tests or imaging tests. These tests help your surgeon develop a plan for your cardiac/aortic surgery.

On the day of the procedure, your medical team administers anesthesia. This medication might make you fall asleep, although some patients may be partially awake during the procedure. If your surgeon plans to keep you awake, the team can provide a sedative to keep you calm and relaxed.

Next, your surgeon will make small incisions near your groin through which a catheter will be inserted. The catheter will be guided to the aneurysm. Then the stent graft will be inserted. Your team may use imaging tests to help place the stent graft in the correct spot.

Once the stent graft is in place, the catheter is removed and the incisions are sealed. The procedure generally takes two to three hours. 

What are the Side Effects of Endovascular Stent Grafting?

After your procedure, most patients spend one to four days at the hospital. Your medical team keeps you under observation to make sure you're recovering.

Once you're released from the hospital, you can finish your recovery at home. Most patients need four to six weeks for a full recovery.

During your recovery, you may feel tired or groggy. Some patients also experience:

  • Constipation
  • Lack of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

These side effects usually disappear within a few weeks. You may have some discomfort around your incisions as they heal.

Let your doctor know if you experience itching, redness or discharge. These might be symptoms of post-surgical infection.

What are the Risks of Endovascular Stent Grafting?

EVAR is a safe procedure for most individuals, but some patients may be at a higher risk for post-surgical complications. Complications can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Broken stents
  • Graft displacement
  • Infection

Life-threatening complications are rare. Your medical team can take steps to lower your risk of serious complications.

If your surgeon recommends this procedure, they are confident that the benefits outweigh the risks. Your surgeon can provide more information about your unique risk factors.

They can also explain what you should do to lower your risks. You may need to make lifestyle adjustments, like quitting tobacco, before your procedure.