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Symptom: Aortic Aneurysm

Abnormal enlargement or bulging of the aorta, the largest blood vessel of the body, is not an unusual condition. Medical professionals refer to this as aneurysm of the great vessel, or aortic aneurysm. The enlargement usually affects only a small part of the vessel, so bulge is a more accurate description. An aneurysm occurs when a segment of the vessel becomes weakened and expands. The pressure of the blood flowing through the vessel creates a bulge at the weak spot, much as an overinflated inner tube can cause a bulge in a tire. The bulge usually starts small and grows as the pressure continues. Aneurysms are dangerous because they can rupture, causing internal bleeding.The aorta is an artery, meaning it carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart. It is the main artery coming from the heart.
  • It extends from the left chamber (ventricle) of the heart and goes through the chest, down through the belly, or midsection of the body (abdomen), and into the pelvis (groin).
  • In the groin, it divides into two vessels that supply blood to the lower trunk and both legs.
  • In the chest, the aorta is called the thoracic aorta; in the abdomen, the abdominal aorta.
  • Almost every artery in the body branches off of the aorta. These arteries supply blood to the brain, other vital organs (liver, stomach, small and large bowel, spinal cord) and nerves, bones, muscles, and cells that allow the body to function.
  • Damage to the aorta can threaten vital functions.
  • If the damage is severe enough, or not treated, it can even cause death.
  • Bulging can occur in any artery in the body. It is most common in the arteries of the brain and in the abdominal aorta.
  • In the aorta, bulging can occur anywhere along the entire vessel.
  • It is most common in the abdominal aorta, where it is known as abdominal aortic aneurysm (triple AAA).
  • If it occurs in the thoracic aorta, it is known as thoracic aortic aneurysm.
  • Arteries are muscular tubes. The wall of the artery is made up of three layers: the innermost layer (the intima), the middle layer (the media), and the outer layer (the adventitia). Bulges in an artery are classified as true aneurysm, false aneurysm, or dissection.
  • A true aneurysm involves all three layers of the blood vessel wall.
  • A false aneurysm of the artery is contained only by the two outer layers of the blood vessel wall and clot. This is a very fragile condition with high risk of bursting. False aneurysms are usually a result of an infection.
  • A related but different condition is aortic dissection. Dissection refers to a separation of the vessel wall, which allows blood to leak between the layers of the vessel. This further damages and weakens the vessel, placing it at much greater risk of bursting (rupture).Because the abdominal aorta is such a large vessel, a ruptured abdominal aneurysm is a life-threatening event.
  • Fortunately, not all aneurysms rupture right away. Many grow very slowly and cause no symptoms or problems for many years.
  • When detected in time, most aneurysms can be electively repaired with an operation so they do not rupture.
  • Each year, about 11,000 people in the United States die of a ruptured abdominal aneurysm, and aortic aneurysm is a contributing cause in about 17,000 deaths in the US in 2009.
  • Most aneurysms occur in people aged 55 years or older.
  • The number of aneurysms in the United States is increasing as the population increases and ages.
  • Aneurysms are about two-thirds more common in men than in women.

    Source: http://www.emedicinehealth.com

  • Expand
    Abnormal enlargement or bulging of the aorta, the largest blood vessel of the body, is not an unusual condition. Medical professionals refer to this as aneurysm of the great vessel, or aortic aneurysm. The enlargement usually affects only a small part of the vessel, so bulge is a more accurate description. An aneurysm occurs when a segment of the vessel becomes weakened and expands. The pressure of the blood flowing through the vessel creates a bulge at the weak spot, much as an overinflated inner tube can cause a bulge in a tire. The bulge usually starts small and grows as the pressure continues. Aneurysms are dangerous because they can rupture, causing internal bleeding.The aorta is an artery, meaning it carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart. It is the main artery coming from the heart.
    • It extends from the left chamber (ventricle) of the heart and goes through the chest, down through the belly, or midsection of the body (abdomen), and into the pelvis (groin).
    • In the groin, it divides into two vessels that supply blood to the lower trunk and both legs.
    • In the chest, the aorta is called the thoracic aorta; in the abdomen, the abdominal aorta.
    Almost every artery in the body branches off of the aorta. These arteries supply blood to the brain, other vital organs (liver, stomach, small and large bowel, spinal cord) and nerves, bones, muscles, and cells that allow the body to function.
    • Damage to the aorta can threaten vital functions.
    • If the damage is severe enough, or not treated, it can even cause death.
    Bulging can occur in any artery in the body. It is most common in the arteries of the brain and in the abdominal aorta.
    • In the aorta, bulging can occur anywhere along the entire vessel.
    • It is most common in the abdominal aorta, where it is known as abdominal aortic aneurysm (triple AAA).
    • If it occurs in the thoracic aorta, it is known as thoracic aortic aneurysm.
    Arteries are muscular tubes. The wall of the artery is made up of three layers: the innermost layer (the intima), the middle layer (the media), and the outer layer (the adventitia). Bulges in an artery are classified as true aneurysm, false aneurysm, or dissection.
    • A true aneurysm involves all three layers of the blood vessel wall.
    • A false aneurysm of the artery is contained only by the two outer layers of the blood vessel wall and clot. This is a very fragile condition with high risk of bursting. False aneurysms are usually a result of an infection.
    A related but different condition is aortic dissection. Dissection refers to a separation of the vessel wall, which allows blood to leak between the layers of the vessel. This further damages and weakens the vessel, placing it at much greater risk of bursting (rupture).Because the abdominal aorta is such a large vessel, a ruptured abdominal aneurysm is a life-threatening event.
    • Fortunately, not all aneurysms rupture right away. Many grow very slowly and cause no symptoms or problems for many years.
    • When detected in time, most aneurysms can be electively repaired with an operation so they do not rupture.
    Each year, about 11,000 people in the United States die of a ruptured abdominal aneurysm, and aortic aneurysm is a contributing cause in about 17,000 deaths in the US in 2009.
    • Most aneurysms occur in people aged 55 years or older.
    • The number of aneurysms in the United States is increasing as the population increases and ages.
    • Aneurysms are about two-thirds more common in men than in women.

      Source: http://www.emedicinehealth.com

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    1 23...Next»(Page 1 of 12)GlossaryAortic Aneurysm Topic Guide Must Read Articles Related to Aortic Aneurysm Abdominal Pain in Adults Abdominal pain in adults can range from a mild stomach ache to severe pain. Examples of causes of abdominal pain in adults include appendicitis, gallbladder dis...learn more >> Blood Clots Blood is supposed to clot to help repair a blood vessel that is injured. Clots or thrombi become a problem when they form inappropriately. There are a variety o...learn more >> Diabetes (Mellitus, Type 1 and Type 2) There are two types of diabetes, type 1 (insulin dependent), and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). type 1 diabetes is caused by heredity, environmental factors, o...learn more >> See the Entire Aortic Aneurysm Topic Guide » Patient Comments & Reviews The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Aortic Aneurysm: Aortic Aneurysm - Symptoms What symptoms did you experience with your aortic aneurysm? View 12 Comments Share Your Story Aortic Aneurysm - Experience Please share your experience with aortic aneurysm. Share Your Story Aortic Aneurysm - Causes What was the cause of your aortic aneurysm, or that of a friend of family member if known. Share Your Story Aortic Aneurysm - Surger Please share your experience with aortic aneurysm and surgery. 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    Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm »Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) represent a degenerative process of the abdominal aorta that is often attributed to atherosclerosis; however, the exact cause is not known. A familiar clustering of AAAs has been noted in 15-25% of patients undergoing repair of the problem. Read More on Medscape Reference »
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