Aortofemoral Bypass

What you should know

Aortofemoral bypass is surgery to place a graft to go around your blocked or damaged aorta. The aorta is a large blood vessel that carries blood and oxygen from your heart to your body. Your aorta splits into 2 smaller blood vessels called femoral arteries in your abdomen. These arteries carry blood and oxygen to your pelvis and your legs. The graft may be from a blood vessel in your arm or leg, or it may be man-made.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

  • You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your new graft may narrow, become blocked, and get infected. The blood flow to your legs and feet may become blocked again. You may need more surgery. Graft failure may increase your risk of a leg or foot amputation. You may get a blood clot that travels to your heart or lungs. This can be life-threatening.

  • If you do not have surgery, the blood flow to your legs and feet will get worse. You may develop difficulty walking. You may get sores on your foot that do not heal, or the skin tissue may die. If the sores or dead skin become infected, you may need to have part of your leg or foot amputated. Without surgery, your risk is greater for life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack.

Getting Ready

Before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.

  • You may need blood tests before your surgery. You may also need an angiography, ultrasound, or CT to check the blood flow in your pelvis and legs. Talk to your caregiver about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your surgery:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.

  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

Treatment

What will happen:

  • An incision will be made in your groin near your femoral artery. Another incision will be made in your abdomen near your aorta. If your own vein will be used as the graft, an incision will be made in your lower leg or arm and a vein will be removed.

  • One end of a graft is sewn to your aorta just above the blockage. The other end will be sewn to the femoral artery below the blockage. Blood will then flow through the graft and around the blocked area. Your incisions will be closed with stitches or staples.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Caregivers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you will be taken to your hospital room.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your surgery.

  • You have a fever.

  • You get a cold or the flu.

  • You see new color changes in your feet or toes.

  • Your leg pain is becoming worse.

  • You have new ulcers on your legs or feet.

  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • The problems for which you are having the surgery get worse.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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