Q: My dad, 60, has a weak blood vessel behind the heart - an aneurysm waiting to happen. They said it was non-operable. Could this be something he could live with for years?
A: Aneurysms of the descending aorta (in the chest) can rupture if they are greater than 5 cm in diameter especially if they are saccular (look like a balloon).
Repair of these aneurysms has changed dramatically with the advent of endoluminal stent grafting (placing the graft from inside of the vessel).
I would suggest he seek advice from a surgeon experienced in this technique.
Dr. Allen Raczkowski practices Cardiothoracic Surgery and General Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital.