Abdominal Aoritc Aneurysm and Exercise following Open Surgery

Posted by modafi @modafi, Sat, Feb 23 3:47pm

I had open surgery Dec.18 2018 to repair a 5.7 cm tear in the root of the aorta. I am now worried about not having been in any type of rehab/exercise program following the surgery. I do get "winded" after going up and down stairs and need to sit down to catch my breath. I am still taking pain medication — only 1 every 12 hours now– but am tired most of the time. Is there a regime of exercises I can do to get back to feeling myself again? I would appreciate any feedback about recovery time and protocols following surgery.

Hello @modafi,

Welcome to Connect. You’ve been through quite a major procedure, and I can imagine the fatigue you’re experiencing! Open abdominal surgery is the more invasive form of surgery and has a longer recovery time. Here’s some information from Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm/care-at-mayo-clinic/mac-20350696

Connect member @poppy123 might be able to share some thoughts as she recently posted about her father, who had a 10-cm abdominal aortic aneurysm repair done in 2017…https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/physician-consult-for-patient-in-hospital/
How is your dad doing, @poppy123?

Given that the celiac artery is the first major branch of the abdominal aorta, I’d encourage you to view this discussion, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/celiac-artery-aneurysm/
I’m hoping @mfolan @therannmann @onemind711 @kespectrum @degarden_girl @kdh1 @txkathy will join us here with some insights that might help you.

I’m also tagging @annak1691 @mimieleven @jessicalatessa @themadyank @lynnkay1956 and @HeartPatches who’ve talked about AAA in this discussion: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm/

@modafi, did you notice any symptoms before the tear was determined? How did the doctors diagnose this?

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@kanaazpereira

Hello @modafi,

Welcome to Connect. You’ve been through quite a major procedure, and I can imagine the fatigue you’re experiencing! Open abdominal surgery is the more invasive form of surgery and has a longer recovery time. Here’s some information from Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm/care-at-mayo-clinic/mac-20350696

Connect member @poppy123 might be able to share some thoughts as she recently posted about her father, who had a 10-cm abdominal aortic aneurysm repair done in 2017…https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/physician-consult-for-patient-in-hospital/
How is your dad doing, @poppy123?

Given that the celiac artery is the first major branch of the abdominal aorta, I’d encourage you to view this discussion, https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/celiac-artery-aneurysm/
I’m hoping @mfolan @therannmann @onemind711 @kespectrum @degarden_girl @kdh1 @txkathy will join us here with some insights that might help you.

I’m also tagging @annak1691 @mimieleven @jessicalatessa @themadyank @lynnkay1956 and @HeartPatches who’ve talked about AAA in this discussion: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm/

@modafi, did you notice any symptoms before the tear was determined? How did the doctors diagnose this?

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Thank you for your wonderful response! I appreciate the connections with other members–I just have to remember to check my emails more frequently.
As far as noticing any symptoms before the tear was determined–I had just turned 60 in Oct. 2018 and my husband had his colonoscopy without incident. I had argued with my primary for 3 years about not wanting to go for a colonoscopy. My body started acting it's age in early November–I would get a quick sharp pain in my lower left abdomen that would last about 30 seconds–then I would notice a "gurgling" in my belly. At first, I thought it was gas.bloating.constipation or some other stomach issue. After our Thanksgiving dinner, I had a few days of discomfort that would wake me up during the night. I had scheduled a flu shot with my primary on Nov 26th and told him I would finally do the colonoscopy. He questioned why the sudden change of heart and I explained about the quick sharp pain. He said this symptom did not sound like a colon problem–and did an immediate ultrasound in the office. He noticed and recognized the tear immediately. He sent me downstairs to the ER (his office is located in the same building as Silver Cross Hospital Immediate Care) for a CT scan. I got the news that this was serious and would need surgery. The ER medivac'd me to Christ Advocate (a Trauma 1 hospital) where I was immediately placed in the STIC-U. I met with the surgical team and was advised that I would need an open repair because of the location of the tear in the root of the aorta (below my belly button and close to the renal arteries). After a week in the hospital, I was sent home to wait for my surgical call. I was not on any blood pressure medication, had not had any previous cardiac events or any pulmonary problems. Basically–I was in what I thought good health. This has been determined to be genetic–my father passed from throwing a blood clot following hip replacement surgery. It turns out that he had the same type of aneurysm. We were not advised of the secondary cause of death until we read the death certificate so no genetic testing was advised for my sister or myself. I will be contacting John Ritter Foundation or Mayo for advice on how my sons can get genetic testing.
This has been a shock–not only to my immediate family and my sister–but to me. I don;t have anyone in my immediate circle of friends with this condition so I decided to do my own research on the internet. i was unaware of the meaning of an aneurysm and was glad to read about John Ritter's case. Thank goodness for websites like this! I am in a better frame of mind knowing I can ask questions without feeling foolish or bothering the surgeon. I have received cardiac clearance to return to work after being on 3 months of disability. I'm concerned with the lack of cardiac rehab (my scans did not qualify me for rehab and AAA does not fall within the parameters of cardiac surgery). I need to take control of this myself and be an informed patient. I'll follow up with your suggestions–and thank you again for your kind words!

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