Cardiology

Aortic Aneurysm

Aortic Aneurysm VideoAortic aneurysm is an abnormal enlargement or bulging of the body’s main blood vessel, the aorta. Aortic aneurysms may lead to serious complications, including rupture, which can be life-threatening if not discovered early.

Risk factors for aortic aneurisms include male gender, age 60 and over, history of smoking, history of aneurysms in other family members.

Symptoms

Abdominal Aneurysm

Click on photo to enlarge

Most people with aortic aneurisms do not have symptoms. They are usually discovered by doing a screening ultrasound

  • Symptoms may include pain in the chest or abdomen.
  • Some patients notice a pulsation in the upper part of their abdomen.
  • If aneurysms rupture, they are usually very painful and are considered a medical emergency.

Diagnostic Tests

Treatment

Treatment depends on the size of the aneurysm.

  • If the aneurysm is less than 5 cm (or 2 inches) and not growing rapidly, your doctor will probably recommend a repeat ultrasound every 6 to 12 months.
  • If the aneurysm is 5.5 cm or larger, surgery to repair the aneurysm is generally recommended because there is higher risk for rupture.

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