What is an aneurysm? 

An aneurysm occurs when a weakened part of a blood vessel expands like a balloon. an aneurysm in the main blood vessel in the stomach area is an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). The aorta is the large artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Diagnosis is usually made by accident when a patient is being tested for something else.

Suspected diagnosis of AAA can be confirmed with one or more of the following procedures: Ultrasonography, CT scan, MRI and angiography.

The most common aneurysm is an aneurysm of the aorta. It is a life-threatening situation if the aneurysm ruptures.

 Why is AAA so serious? 
Ruptured AAA is the 13th leading cause of death in the U.S., causing an estimated 15,000 deaths per year. Rupture of an AAA is a surgical emergency with a high mortality rate. About 50% of the people with a ruptured aneurysm die.

Early detection of AAA, careful observation of the aneurysm and its growth and elective repair at the appropriate time can save lives.

In the U.S., more than 190,000 abdominal aortic aneurysms are diagnosed each year leading to more than 45,000 surgical repairs.

 Who is likely to develop Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm? 
Certain factors increase the risk of having AAA. These include:

  • AAA runs in the family 
  • Age - AAA is more likely as a person ages. Statistics show that more than three-fourths of patients with AAA are older than 60 
  • High blood pressure is almost always present 
  • Lifestyle factors such as smoking and a high cholesterol level 
  • White males have the highest incidence of AAA. Males are affected 7 times more often than females