Aortic Aneurysm

Last updated: May 28, 2020

What Does Aortic Aneurysm Mean?

An aortic aneurysm is an outward bulge in a section of the body's main artery, the aorta. This bulge occurs when a portion of the normally elastic aorta becomes damaged and stretches. Aortic aneurysms are either thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) occurring in the chest or abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) that develop in the abdomen.


WorkplaceTesting Explains Aortic Aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm occurs when the aorta loses its elasticity due to the weakening of the artery walls. Conditions such as high blood pressure or atherosclerosis can trigger this weakening effect. Under healthy conditions, the aorta stretches to accommodate increases in blood flow and is able to shrink back. If weakened, however, the aorta may stretch in response to pressure but not recede, leaving a bulge. If untreated, this weakened area may become overstretched and burst rapidly, resulting in bleeding and possibly death. Because an aortic aneurysm does not always present symptoms, individuals who are considered to be at high risk for aortic aneurysms should undergo screening to check for the condition. Imaging tests are used to detect aortic aneurysms. Small aortic aneurysms may be treated with ongoing monitoring but a larger aneurysm will require either surgical or endovascular repair.


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