An aortic aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area in the aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in the body, and runs from the heart through the middle of the chest and abdominal area. Most people who have an aortic aneurysm will not have symptoms. If the aneurysm ruptures, it can be life threatening.
Why Choose The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center?
The vascular surgeons at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center have extensive experience with traditional open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysms, including repair of complex cases. They also are expert at minimally invasive repairs, and have experience in the use of all of the available stent graft technologies available to treat a wide variety of aneurysms. Ohio State's participation in national clinical trials helps direct the development of the next generation of stent grafts for the treatment of aneurysms.
What Is an Aortic Aneurysm?
The aorta is the body's largest blood vessel. If a section of this large artery forms an aneurysm and ruptures, you will have life-threatening internal bleeding. If the weakened area is large, the risk of rupture is greater. When an aortic aneurysm is detected before a problem develops, physicians will monitor its growth. If they determine that it is rapidly growing or large enough, they may decide to treat it surgically or with stent grafting.
Aortic aneurysms most often occur in the abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysm), but can also occur in the upper chest (thoracic aortic aneurysm). Symptoms of a growing aortic aneurysm can include pain in the:
- abdominal area
- lower back
What Causes an Aortic Aneurysm?
While the exact cause is unclear, an aortic aneurysm may be caused by multiple factors that damage the aortic wall. Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) is thought to play an important role. Infection, injury to the aorta and genetic disorders, including Marfan syndrome, are also factors that increase the risk of developing an aortic aneurysm.
Other risk factors that contribute to aortic aneurysm include:
Medical professionals recommend that men older than 60 who have ever smoked should have a one-time screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm with a simple ultrasound test.