Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Diagnosis
The aorta is the largest artery in the body. The abdominal portion of the aorta carries blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. Sometimes the walls of the aorta weaken and bulge in one area. This is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). AAAs are most often caused by atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of arteries, and high blood pressure.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Surgery to repair an AAA is often done when the aneurysm:
- Causes physical symptoms such as abdominal pain
- Reaches a size of five centimeters (2 inches) across or has been growing rapidly. Smaller aneurysms are watched closely. They are rarely repaired with surgery.
- Has burst—Surgery must be done right away.
Preventive AAA surgery generally has a good outcome for people who are relatively healthy. Emergency surgery to fix an AAA rupture has a much lower survival rate, due to the rapid loss of blood.
Last reviewedMarch 2014by Michael J. Fucci, DO
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.