Overview of Aortic Aneurysm
When the wall of an artery becomes thin and weak, it can stretch and bulge like a balloon. This weakened area is called an aneurysm. When it happens in the aorta, it's called an aortic aneurysm. The most common part of the aorta affected is in the abdominal (stomach) area. This is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm or AAA. Since the aorta is the main artery out of your heart, an aortic aneurysm is a dangerous condition. If it grows large enough or weak enough, the artery wall can tear (dissection), leading to life-threatening bleeding.
The most common causes of aortic aneurysm are coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis or clogged arteries) and high blood pressure. At highest risk are males over the age of 60 who smoke and people with a family history of AAA. If you're at risk, you should be evaluated early and monitored regularly.
Unfortunately, aortic aneurysms often produce no symptoms until they rupture. Before rupture, some patients with an AAA may experience severe, steady back or abdominal pain that is not relieved by pain medication. Sometimes your healthcare provider can detect a mass in your abdomen.
Aortic Aneurysm In Depth
Learn More about Aortic Aneurysm from Intermountain's Patient Education Library:
Diagnostic Tests for Aortic Aneurysm
Treatments for Aortic Aneurysm
Your doctor will discuss your treatment options with you. Possible treatments for aortic aneurysm include:
Services and Programs
Service and programs at Intermountain Heart Institute that help patients with aortic aneurysm