An aortic aneurysm is a condition characterized by the appearance of a lump on the aortic wall or weakening of the aortic wall. Aorta is the main and largest blood vessel in the human body that serves to drain the blood with high oxygen content from the heart to the entire body.
If the aortic aneurysm is left, the aortic wall may rupture and may result in bleeding at risk of death. There are two types of aortic aneurysms, namely:
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm. This is the most common type of aortic aneurysm. In this condition, enlargement or bumps occur at the bottom of the aorta.
- Aortic thoracic aneurysm. In this condition, enlargement or weakening occurs in the upper aorta.
- A torako-abdominal aortic neurism. This type of aneurysm occurs between the upper and lower aorta.
- Smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Being over 65 years old.
- Have hypertension .
- Suffering from atherosclerosis .
- Has a family member who suffers from aortic aneurysm.
- Male sex.
- Fair skin.
- Suffered another aneurysm.
- Suffered from Marfan syndrome or other genetic disorders.
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Symptoms of Aortic Aneurysm
Aortic aneurysms are usually difficult to detect, as they often develop slowly and without symptoms. In cases of abdominal aortic aneurysms, some symptoms that can be felt by the sufferer are:
- Constant pain from the stomach or on the side of the abdomen.
- Back pain.
- The throbbing sensations around the navel.
- The voice becomes husky.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest or chest pain becomes sensitive.
- Back pain.
- Causes of Aortic Aneurysm
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
- Infections of the aorta or other untreated body parts.
- Genetic disorders.
Diagnosis of Aortic Aneurysm
If suspected of having aortic aneurysm, then the doctor will advise the patient to do some examination that is:
- Imaging. Your doctor may recommend a patient for a stomach ultrasound scan, chest X-ray, CTscan, MRI, or MRA.
- Genetic examination. If one member of the patient's family suffers from Marfan syndrome or other genetic disorders, then the doctor may ask the patient to undergo a genetic test.
Treatment of Aortic Aneurysms
The purpose of aortic aneurysm treatment is to prevent the rupture of the aortic blood vessels. If the size of the aneurysm is still small and the patient does not feel any symptoms, then the doctor will advise patients to undergo regular medical examination to monitor the development of aneurysm.
For patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms, the doctor will usually recommend surgery if the aneurysm is 5 to 5.5 centimeters or larger. Some types of surgery to deal with abdominal aortic aneurysms are:
- Surgery is open to repair abdominal aortic aneurysms involving removal of damaged aortic parts and replacing them with synthetic tubes.
- Endovascular surgery . In this procedure, the doctor will attach a synthetic graft to the tip of the catheter to be inserted into the aorta through the artery in the patient's foot.
- Provision of drugs to reduce the risk of aneurysm complications. Examples are statins, beta blockers, and angiotensin II receptor blockers.
- Surgery to prevent rupture of the aneurysm. Examples include open surgery on the chest, endovascular surgery, and heart valve repair surgery.
Complications of Aortic Aneurysm
The main complications that can be suffered by patients with aortic aneurysm is tearing or rupture of the aortic wall. Some of the symptoms of aortic wall rupture include:
- Severe pain that appears suddenly on the abdomen, chest, or back.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Low blood pressure.
- Pain spreads to the back or legs.
- Excessive sweating.
- Breath becomes short.
- Difficult to swallow.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Heart beat fast.
- The appearance of signs of stroke , such as the body weakness, partial paralysis, or difficulty speaking.
- Loss of consciousness.