Abdominal aortic aneurysm
What is an aneurysm?
An is a balloon-like swell in the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm
Types of aortic aneurysms
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms
Thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs in the the thorax. Both genders are equally likely to get thoracic aortic aneurysms. Age is also a risk factor.
Causes of thoracic aortic aneurysms
Thoracic aortic aneurysms are usually caused by similar factors as abdominal aortic aneurysm in general such as high blood pressure or sudden injury although smoking is a bigger risk for abdominal aortic aneurysm than the thoracic. The other risk factors include those with connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Signs and symptoms of thoracic aortic aneurysm
- Thoracic aortic aneurysm can present as a sudden pain in the chest or upper back which is sharp.
- Shortness of breath.
- Trouble breathing or swallowing.
Symptoms of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
- The classic symptom is a man or woman clutching his stomach.
- An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs below the chest. Abdominal aortic aneurysms happen more often than thoracic aortic aneurysms.
- Abdominal aortic aneurysms are more common in men and among people aged 65 years and older. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are less common among blacks compared with whites.
- Abdominal aortic aneurysms are usually caused by atherosclerosis (hardened arteries), but infection or injury can also cause them.
- Abdominal aortic aneurysms often don’t have any symptoms. If an individual does have symptoms, they can include
- Throbbing or deep pain in your back or side.
- Pain in the buttocks, groin, or legs
Mechanism of development of an aneurysm
As the heart pumps the blood with some force, there is certain level of pressure or force in the blood vessels called blood pressure which changes between systole and diastole - two phases of the heart. Due to the constant force on the arterial wall, sometimes some of the layers of the wall of the vessel can start to crack leading to a process called dissection.
Incidence of abdominal aortic aneurysm
10,597 deaths are attributed annually to abdominal aortic aneurysm where the abdominal aortic aneurysm is considered the primary cause.
Risk factors of abdominal aortic aneurysm
Abdominal aortic aneurysm affects men more than women - in fact, two thirds of those that have abdominal aortic aneurysm are actually men.
US preventive services task force recommends an ultrasound of the abdomen in men between ages of 65 and 75 who ever smoked irrespective of their symptoms or lack there of.
Prevalence of abdominal aortic aneurysm in the United States
Aortic aneurysms cause 10,597 deaths directly and a contributing cause in more than 17,215 deaths in the United States in 2009 according to the Centers for Disease Control. Abdominal aortic aneurysm affects males more than females as two-thirds of people who have an aortic dissection are male.
Treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysm
It can be treated by either surgical measures or by reversal of the causes of the aneurysm or both.