Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

An Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) is an enlarged area in the lower part of the aorta, the major blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. The aorta, about the thickness of a garden hose, runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen. Because the aorta is the body’s main supplier of blood, a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding.

Depending on the size and rate at which your abdominal aortic aneurysm is growing, treatment may vary from watchful waiting to emergency surgery. Once an abdominal aortic aneurysm is found, doctors will closely monitor it so that surgery can be planned if it’s necessary. Emergency surgery for a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can be risky.

Causes of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA):

The exact cause of the condition is unknown. The leading thought is that the aneurysm may be caused by inflammation in the aorta, which may cause its wall to weaken or break down. This believes that inflammation can be associated with atherosclerosis or risk factors that contribute to atherosclerosis, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) and smoking. In atherosclerosis fatty deposits, called plaque, build up in an artery. Over time, this buildup causes the artery to narrow, stiffen and possibly weaken. Factors that can increase your risk of developing the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm include:

  • Smoking
  • Male Gender
  • Genetic Factors
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is most often seen in males over age 60 that have one or more risk factors. The larger the aneurysm, the more likely it is to break open. This can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm:

Aneurysms can develop slowly over many years, often with no symptoms. Symptoms may come on quickly if the aneurysm expands rapidly, tears open or leaks blood within the wall of the vessel (aortic dissection).

Symptoms of rupture include:

Pain in the abdomen or back, pain may be severe, sudden, persistent, or constant. It may spread to the groin, buttocks, or legs.

  • Shock
  • Dizziness
  • Passing out
  • Clammy Skin
  • Rapid Heart Rate
  • Nausea And Vomiting

Diagnosis of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm:

Doctor will examine your abdomen and feel the pulses in your legs. The doctor may find:

  • Stiff or rigid abdomen
  • A lump (mass) in the abdomen
  • Pulsating sensation in the abdomen

You may have an abdominal aortic aneurysm that is not causing any symptoms. Your doctor may find this problem by doing the following tests:

  • Ultrasound of the abdomen when the abdominal aneurysm is first suspected
  • CT scan of the abdomen to confirm the size of the aneurysm
  • CTA (Computed Tomography Angiogram) to help with surgical planning

Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm:

If you have bleeding inside your body from an aortic aneurysm, you will need abdominal aortic aneurysm repair. If the aneurysm is small and there are no symptoms. Surgery is rarely done. Most of the time, surgery is done if the aneurysm is bigger than 2 inches (5.5 cm) across or growing quickly. The goal is to do surgery before complications develop. There are two types of surgeries:

Traditional (open) Repair: A large cut is made in your abdomen. The abnormal vessel is replaced with a graft made of man-made material.

Endovascular Stent Grafting: This procedure can be done without making a large cut in your abdomen, so you may recover more quickly. This may be a safer approach if you have certain other medical problems. Endovascular repair can sometimes be done for a leaking or bleeding aneurysm.

Prevention of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm:

  • People over age 65 who have ever smoked should have a screening ultrasound done once.
  • If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, take your medicines as your doctor has told you.
  • To reduce the risk of aneurysms, eat a heart-healthy diet, exercise, stop smoking (if you smoke), and reduce stress.

Seek counsel from our Houston Cardiologist if you suspect you are suffering from Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm for the best treatment options for you.

To Schedule an Appointment Visit us at: www.advancedcardiodr.com|Call: +1 281-866-7701

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