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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm


What you need to know about
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

The major blood vessel in the body is called the aorta. It transports blood from your heart to your head, arms, and abdomen, legs, and pelvis. If the walls of the aorta become weak, they can inflate or bulge out like a balloon. When an aortic aneurysm occurs in the section of the aorta that runs through your belly, it’s known as an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
Although AAAs may not always cause difficulties, a ruptured aneurysm can be fatal. If you’ve been diagnosed with an aneurysm, your doctor will most likely want to keep a tight eye on you, even if they don’t intervene immediately away.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

What are the signs and symptoms of an aortic aneurysm in the abdomen?

Unless they rupture, most aneurysms cause no symptoms. If a AAA ruptures, you may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Sharp discomfort in your stomach or back
  • Pain in your pelvis, legs, or buttocks that spreads from your belly or back
  • Skin that is sweaty or clammy
  • A faster heartbeat
  • Shock or unconsciousness are both possible outcomes.

If you encounter any of these symptoms, call your doctor right once. An aneurysm that has ruptured can be fatal.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm diagnosis

AAAs that haven’t ruptured are usually discovered via a scan or examination of your abdomen for another cause.

If your doctor suspects you have one, they will press their fingers against your stomach to examine if it is stiff or includes a pulsing lump. They may also diagnose one for the purpose of screening. They may also do one of the following tests or monitor the blood flow in your legs:

  • An abdominal CT scan is performed.
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen
  • X-ray of the chest
  • MRI of the abdomen

What is the causes of abdominal aortic aneurysm?

The cause of AAAs is unknown at this time. Certain circumstances, however, have been linked to an increased risk of them. They are as follows:


Smoking causes direct damage to the walls of your arteries, increasing the likelihood of them bulging. Additionally, it may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure.

Hypertension (High blood pressure)

The level of pressure on the walls of your blood vessels is referred to as blood pressure. The walls of your aorta might be weakened by high blood pressure. An aneurysm is more likely to form as a result of this.

Vasculitis (Vascular inflammation)

AAAs can be caused by severe inflammation in the aorta and other arteries, but this is a rare occurrence.

Any blood artery in your body might develop aneurysms. AAAs, on the other hand, are particularly dangerous because of the aorta’s size.

What varieties of abdominal aortic aneurysms are there?

According to Surgery UCSF:

Aneurysms can develop anywhere along the aorta or in its immediate vicinity. They are divided into many groups based on where they are located:

Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) – Abdominal aorta is the site of the majority of aortic aneurysms (AAs). We refer to these as abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). The most frequent complication of abdominal aortic aneurysms is still a life-threatening rupture with haemorrhage, despite the fact that the majority of them are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis.
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm (TAA) – These develop in the thoracic aorta, the aorta’s higher section, and are likewise vulnerable to rupture.
TAAs are classified further into the following three categories:

  • Ascending aortic aneurysms
  • Aneurysms in the aortic arch (arteries that branch off the top of the aorta and form an arch)
  • Descending thoracic aneurysms, also called thoracoabdominal aneurysms

Thoracoabdominal aneurysms (TAAAs) – Thoracoabdominal aneurysms are aneurysms that exist in both the thoracic and abdominal segments of the aorta.

Visceral Artery Aneurysms
Aneurysms can also develop in the aortic branches that feed the essential organs with blood, including the liver, spleen, kidneys, and intestines. A visceral (organ) artery aneurysm is the term used to describe this kind of aneurysm.

What kinds of abdominal aortic aneurysms are there?

AAAs are often classed based on their size and rate of growth. These two factors can aid in predicting the aneurysm’s health repercussions.

AAAs that are small – (less than 5.5 cm) or slow-growing have a lower risk of rupture than those that are larger or expand faster. Doctors frequently believe that monitoring them with regular abdominal ultrasounds is preferable to treating them.

AAAs that are large – (more than 5.5 cm) or growing quickly are far more prone to rupture than those that are tiny or slow-growing. A rupture might lead to internal bleeding and other severe issues. The likelihood that surgery will be necessary to treat an aneurysm increases with its size. These aneurysms need to be treated if they are causing symptoms or are dripping blood.

Who’s at risk?

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are more likely to occur if you do the following:

  • Are a men
  • Are obese or are overweight
  • You are over the age of 60
  • Have a history of heart disease and aneurysms in your family
  • Possess high blood pressure, particularly if you are between the ages of 35 and 60.
  • Have fatty accumulation in the blood arteries or excessive cholesterol (atherosclerosis)
  • A sedentary way of life
  • If you’ve suffered an abdominal injury or other harm to your midsection
  • If you smoke


Treatment for an abdominal aortic aneurysm varies depending on the size, specific location, growth rate, and kind of aneurysm, as well as your overall health.

Among the treatment options available are:

Abdominal surgery with an open incision. The purpose of this treatment is to remove diseased aorta sections. It’s a more invasive procedure with a longer recovery time, but it may be essential if your aneurysm is huge or has ruptured.

Endovascular surgery is a type of surgery that focuses on the blood vessels This procedure is less invasive than open abdominal surgery. It entails using a graft to strengthen your aorta’s weakening walls.

Monitoring. Your doctor may elect to monitor a tiny AAA that is less than 5.5 centimetres wide with imaging instead of undergoing surgery if it is less than 5.5 centimetres broad.

What is the long-term outlook?

It could take up to 6 weeks to recuperate from open abdominal surgery if your doctor prescribes it. Endovascular surgery takes only two weeks to recover from.

The effectiveness of surgery and rehabilitation is highly dependent on locating the AAA before it ruptures. If the AAA is discovered before it ruptures, the prognosis is usually good.


An abdominal aortic aneurysm can lead to a number of significant or even life-threatening consequences.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm may cause the following complications:

  • Aortic dissection is a tear in the aorta’s inner layer.
  • Blood clots could break free and prevent blood flow to other regions of the body
  • Internal bleeding may result from the rupture of an aortic aneurysm.

If you have symptoms such as low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, an elevated heart rate pulse, or sudden, strong back or stomach discomfort, seek medical help right away.

What can be done to avoid an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm can be avoided by focusing on heart health. This entails keeping a close eye on what you eat, exercising regularly, and avoiding other cardiovascular risk factors like smoking. Your doctor may also recommend medications to help you manage your diabetes or treat high blood pressure or cholesterol.

If you’re at a higher risk due to smoking or other circumstances, your doctor may want to check you for a AAA when you turn 65. An abdominal ultrasound is used to scan your aorta for bulges during the screening procedure. It’s a quick and painless screening tool.