Aortic Aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm is a weakening resulting in swelling in the main blood vessel of the body called the aorta. It is called a thoracic aortic aneurysm if it is in the chest or abdominal aortic aneurysm if found in the abdomen.
The cause of such aneurysm can be due to a variety of causes but mainly due to age related damage. This ballooning of the aorta causes increase in size with increasing chances of rupture over time.

 

People who have increased risk of developing an aortic aneurysms are:

  • Over 60 years of age
  • Smoker
  • Hypertension
  • Family history of an aneurysm
  • History of coronary or peripheral arterial disease
Normally aneurysms do not cause any problems and are picked up during routine abdominal scans. Less often you can have symptoms like upper abdominal pain, back pain or a painful lump in your abdomen that is throbbing. Aortic aneurysms can be diagnosed with ultrasound scans but normally a CT Scan is needed for detailed planning of treatment. Once an aneurysm is suspected or diagnosed, it is imperative to consult a vascular specialist at the earliest. 

 

Some smaller aortic aneurysms do not need active treatment and can be followed up with repeated scans at intervals. An Abdominal / Thoracic aortic aneurysm can be safely treated by endovascular (minimally invasive) or open surgery depending on the anatomy of the lesion. A vascular surgeon is trained to offer you both solutions for best outcome. A ruptured aortic aneurysm is a surgical emergency and needs to be dealt with as soon as possible. The chances of survival after an aneurysm ruptures are as low 2 out of 10 people. The treatment modality can be endovascular or open depending on the patient condition and disease factors.

Health Tips

  • Family History of aortic aneurysm- you must get screened for whether you have a hidden aneurysm
  • Stop smoking
  • Healthy, low-sodium diet
  • Maintain weight
  • Regular exercise
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol control