Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
- Posted on: Nov 15 2018
Do you know you have a blood vessel in your body that’s about the size of a typical garden hose? Yes, the aorta is a big blood vessel. It has to be because it is the highway for carrying blood from the heart to the head, arms, and down through the pelvis to the legs.
In some people the portion of the aorta that runs through the abdomen weakens, allowing the aorta walls to extend like a balloon. This is known as an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
At Nevada Vein and Vascular, we diagnose and use surgery to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms.
What causes an abdominal aortic aneurysm to form?
Causes for a person forming an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) aren’t always easy to pinpoint. But these can be factors that contribute to forming an AAA:
- High blood pressure, which weakens the aorta walls
- Atherosclerosis, where the arteries harden due to plaque buildup
- Vascular disease in the aorta
- Infection in the aorta, causing inflammation
- Trauma to the chest or abdomen
- Tobacco use, which weakens the aorta walls
- Family history
What are symptoms if you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm?
In some people, an AAA can grow slowly over time and not exhibit any symptoms. It can stay relatively small and never rupture. However, if the aneurysm grows, the patient will develop symptoms such as deep, persistent pain in the abdomen, back pain, or a pulsating or vibrating sensation near the navel. If these develop suddenly, this will be an emergency situation.
Sometimes AAAs will be detected during a patient’s being examined for something else. X-rays and other routine tests can sometimes show them. If you have symptoms or a history, we may order specialized tests to check for the presence of an AAA:
- Abdominal ultrasound— The same ultrasound waves that are used to show a developing baby can also show an AAA.
- CT scan— Computerized tomography creates 3D cross-sectional images of the abdomen and will show an AAA.
- MRI — Using a magnetic field, an MRI also create 3D images that will show an AAA.
Posted in: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm