When is it okay not to have an aortic aneurysm operation when you were not aware of it?

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My father, who is 85 years old, had a scan for prostate problems. Soon after he was sent an appointment to see a vascular surgeon who told him he had a 6cm Aortic Aneurysm in his belly. They said it should be fixed to prevent premature death from a rupture.

I did some reading and there is no information about when you should not have an operation. The World Health Organisation says death is premature when age is under 75.

I know vascular surgeons look for aneurysms in younger men ( 65 years old) but not women.

Why are surgeons offering operations to 85 year olds to prevent the possibility of premature deaths?

if they offer operations when an aneurysm is found, what about all the other 85 year olds who have one but do not know it. It does not seem to be fair that my father should have an operation when others might not know about their Aneurysm.

Confused. What do you think?

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    Life is not fair, not everyone at 85 would be offered surgery as they have to be a certain fitness. My partner struggled and he was 62, fairly fit. It has taken over 8 months for him to recover. I think anyone who has it found is lucky and the decision of what to do next has to be a personal one, we discussed it as a family. It is a serious operation with risks involved. Jon was in a coma eight days and almost died several times in a 48 hour period. He had the open surgery. Is your dad being offered open/EVAR? Some surgeries are straightforward but any surgery at 85 will be risky. I wish your father and family all the best in deciding what is right for all of you. 
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  • Posted

    I think what to have to consider fee is that it is lucky they have found it. It is perfectly reasonable for him to have the operation. It is not a death many would want often sudden and   in public. My father died of it and I can’t think of a worse death. 

    The abdominal operation can be done with a stent not a major operation at all. I don’t think being ageist about health care is s good idea.

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  • Posted

    The rule in the UK at least is to operate when it is 5.5 cm as then the risk of it bursting is greater than the risk of the surgery.

    Sounds like you don't want your father to have the operation. They obviously think that he is good for a good few years yet so it is considered worthwhile. They often run in families so roll on 65 for when the National Screening programme will call you in

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  • Posted

    PS: Mine is only 4.3 cm and I'm 83. It has been slowly growing from 3.1 cm when found in 2004 but has leapt  from 3.6 cm in the past two years.

    A friend who is a retired policeman told me that Aortic Aneurysms are the leading cause of death for men living on their own who are found dead.

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