Ultrasound of aortic endografts: postoperative protocol unveiled

Discover the essential steps in conducting a postoperative ultrasound for aortic endografts—vital for ensuring patient well-being and optimal surgical outcomes.

Elizabeth Tenny, BS RVT RDCS
Elizabeth Tenny, BS RVT RDCS
14th Mar 2024 • 2m read

Following endovascular aortic aneurysm repair surgery, postoperative care is crucial to monitor patient progress and detect any potential complications. Ultrasound emerges as a pivotal diagnostic tool, offering a non-invasive and cost-effective means to assess aortic endografts. Let's delve into the comprehensive protocol for conducting a postoperative ultrasound examination.

The protocol begins with measuring the proximal aorta's anteroposterior diameter and obtaining peak systolic velocity (PSV), akin to preoperative assessments. Moving to the proximal endograft body, diameters and waveform PSV are obtained, focusing just distal to the renal arteries. Subsequently, the anteroposterior diameter of the distal aorta is measured in transverse view, encompassing the thrombosed aneurysm sac where endoleaks, particularly Type II, are commonly detected.

The examination proceeds with confirming the anteroposterior diameter measurement of the aneurysm sac in longitudinal view, ensuring comprehensive assessment. Notably, vigilance for endoleaks is imperative, necessitating adjustments to the ultrasound machine's color scale to enhance sensitivity. Detection of bidirectional or retrograde blood flow outside the endograft limbs signifies potential endoleaks, warranting further evaluation.

In instances where the vessel feeding the aneurysm sac is identifiable, obtaining a waveform from it provides valuable insights into blood flow dynamics. Additionally, waveform peak systolic velocities of crucial arteries—celiac, superior mesenteric, inferior mesenteric, and renal—are obtained to ascertain stenosis or blockages caused by endograft migration or plaque formation. Ensuring patency of these arteries is paramount for postoperative management.

Furthermore, the evaluation extends to the endograft limbs, distal landing zones, and iliac arteries, completing a comprehensive assessment of the surgical site. By meticulously following this protocol, healthcare practitioners can effectively monitor patients' progress, detect complications promptly, and optimize postoperative care strategies.

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In conclusion, mastering the postoperative ultrasound protocol for aortic endografts is indispensable for healthcare professionals involved in abdominal aortic aneurysm management. With its emphasis on meticulous assessment and vigilant monitoring, ultrasound serves as a cornerstone in ensuring patient safety and successful surgical outcomes.

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