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Aortic Aneurysm

What is an Aortic Aneurysm?

An aortic aneurysm, is an abnormal bulge in the wall artery. Normally the arteries of the walls are thick and muscular,allowing them to withstand a large amount of pressure,however if there is a weak area in the wall of the artery,which allows the pressure within the artery to push outwards creating a bulge or become ballooned area called an "aneurysm"

An aneurysm can form in any blood vessel, however they occur most commonly in the aorta (aortic aneurysm). The aorta being the largest artery in the body , which carries the blood from the heart to the rest of the body. These aneurysms can occur in two main places:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms that occur in the part of the aorta which passes through the middle and the lower abdomen.
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysms which occur in the aorta as it passes through the chest cavity. These are more or less common than the abdominal aneurysms.

If you have small aneurysms, they generally pose no threat at all,however aneurysms do increase the risk of:

Atherosclerortic plaque which forms at the site of the aneurysm, which causes further weakening of the artery wall.

Signs of a blood clot may be form at the site and dislodge, increasing the chance of the stroke.

Depends on the increase and the size of the aneurysm, causing it to pressure on other organs, which may cause pain, and the aneurysm rupture. It is most likely that the aortic aneurysm may burst as the walls of the arteries are thin and fragile and burst under stress, which could cause a catastrophe which could be life threatening.

What Causes Aortic Aneurysms?

Aortic aneurysms are caused by:
  • Hardening of the arteries, which weakens the arterial walls (atherosclerosis)
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Injury to the artery

Congenital abnormality. There are a number of conditions, known as the Marfan syndrome, or bicuspid aortic valves which are present at birth and could cause weakness of the artery walls.

Ageing

Syphilis, which is most common cause of thoracic aneurysms, but no longer common

Note : Aortic aneurysms instead of occurring, and causing a bulge in a thinned artery wall, occur between layers of the artery itself, known as "dissecting aneurysm" When the blood starts to flow in the separated artery layers , which cuts the blood flow in the artery, this condition can rapidly lead to rupturing the artery.

What Are the Symptoms of an Aortic Aneurysm?

Most commonly there are no symptoms for aortic aneurysm, if there are symptoms it may include:

Severe pain in the chest, abdomen, or in the of the back between the shoulder blades.

Thoracic aneurysms may cause, shortness of breath,hoarseness, cough(due to pressure on the lungs and airways), and also difficulty swallowing (pressure on the oesophagus)

Also rupture of an aneurysm can cause a lot of consciousness, stoke shock or even a heart attack.

If you are experiencing any kind sudden unexplained chest, abdominal, or back pain or any other kind of symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.