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 aorta is the main artery out of your heart and an aortic aneurysm
is a dangerous condition. If it grows large enough or weak enough, the
artery wall can tear (dissection) or rupture, leading to life-threatening bleeding.
Aortic aneurysms are associated with and may be caused by the following conditions:
- High Blood Pressure
- Coronary Artery Disease (atherosclerosis or clogged arteries)
- Bicuspid Aortic Valve
- Connective Tissue Disorder and Blood Vessel Complications (including Marfan syndrome)
- Family history of aneurysm
Aortic aneurysms are classified by location in the body. Thoracic
(chest) aneurysms can be ascending (just above the heart) or descending
(in the back of the chest, near the spine). Abdominal aneurysms are
located in the belly, below the diaphragm. Aneurysms that extend from
the chest into the abdomen are called thoracoabdominal aneurysms.
Diagnostic Tests for Aortic Aneurysm
Your doctor may order one or more tests to diagnose aortic aneurysm.
The tests listed below create images that reveal the aneurysm's size,
location, and severity.
Your Treatment Options for Aortic Aneurysm
Evaluating your treatment options is the first step in living a long
and healthy life with aortic disease. Your care team will develop a
personalized plan that accounts for your age, medical history, overall
health, and the location and severity of your aortic aneurysm.