Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Aneurysm is an area of a localized widening and it comes from the Greek word “aneurysma” which means “a widening”. In medical terms, Aneurysm is thedilation of blood vessel which affects an area of localized widening. An aortic aneurysm involves the aorta, one of the large arteries through which blood passes from the heart to the rest of the body supplying fresh oxygenated blood. The aorta bulges at the site of the aneurysm like a weak spot on an old worn tire.

Looking at the view where abdominal aorta is located, it is after it has passed the diaphragm and continues down the abdomen. The abdominal aorta ends where it splits to form the two iliac arteries that go to the legs.

The complication of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is mostly (about 90%) found below the renal arteries, the vessels that leave the aorta to go to the kidneys. But there are also times that it may extend to the iliac arteries, on one or both. It is mostly shaped like a spindle with the widening all around the circumference of the aorta. And the inside walls of aneurysms are often lined with a laminated blood clot that is layered like a piece of plywood.

Causes, Risk Factors
According from National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the exact cause of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is unknown. But the following are the risk factors for developing an aortic aneurysm:

• Smoking
• High blood pressure
• High level of cholesterol
• Emphysema
• Genetic factors
• Obesity

Symptoms and Diagnosis
Mostly, Males over the age of 60 with one or more of the risk factors are affected by Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. It develops slowly over many years and often has no symptoms. However, if aneurysm rapidly expands, the blood can leak on the wall of the vessels and symptoms may occur. It includes severe, sudden or persistent pain in the abdomen or back, clammy skin, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, and even shock.

There are two tests in determining whether you have an aortic aneurysm. One is the evaluation of pulses and sensation in your legs and as well as examining your abdomen. There may be abdominal mass, stiff or rigid abdomen, or pulsating sensation in the abdomen. The other is using special tests such as ultrasound of the abdomen and CT scan of the abdomen when there are no visible symptoms and problems.

Treating Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm may depend on how severe it is. For people with internal bleeding due to aortic aneurysm, you will undergo open abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. If the widening is small and there are no symptoms, you and your doctor must decide whether the risk of having surgery is smaller than the risk of bleeding without surgery. Surgery is usually recommended for patients having aneurysms bigger than 2 inches and is growing quickly.

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