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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

What is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlargement of at least 50% of the aorta within the abdominal cavity. This condition is usually asymptomatic and found incidentally via an abdominal ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the abdomen. In patients experiencing symptoms, there may have been a rapid expansion of the aneurysm, which can lead to an aortic dissection or rupture requiring emergency surgery.

One in three patients present to their healthcare provider complaining of a pulsatile mass in the abdomen.

Risk Factors

  • Risk factors for atherosclerosis (including hypertension, hyperlipidemia and smoking)
  • Family history of aortic aneurysms
  • History of aortic surgeries
  • Known history of thoracic aortic aneurysm
  • Trauma to the chest
  • Inflammatory disorders (such as giant cell aortitis and Takayasu arteritis)
  • Genetic predisposition (such as Marfan syndrome or Turner syndrome)

Symptoms

  • Feeling of a pulsatile mass in the abdomen
  • Severe abdominal, flank or back pain
  • Leg weakness

Diagnosis and Tests

If your physician suspects that you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm, he or she may order the following tests to evaluate and monitor your condition:

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Chest, abdominal, pelvic CT
  • Chest, abdominal, pelvic MRI

Treatments

  • Hypertension control
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm surgical repair
  • Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR)

Are you at risk of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?