The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to all of the vital organs and to your legs and feet. Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) occur when the wall of your aorta progressively weakens and begins to bulge. An AAA is a very serious condition as it may continue to enlarge and eventually rupture if it is left untreated. The risk of rupture is directly related to the size of the AAA and can cause severe internal bleeding and possibly death.
Other concerns with having an AAA is that clots or plaque can form within the aneurysm sac and can be carried to other areas in your body and block circulation. This can result in severe pain or possibly the loss of a limb if blood flow is cut off for too long.
Nearly 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with an AAA annually in which approximately 15,000 of those cases may be severe enough to cause death if not treated. Two-thirds of patients who suffer rupture of an AAA didn't know they had the aneurysm until it ruptured.
If you have more than one risk factor, start working on the one that you are most ready to change. Keep the changes simple and be sure to include friends and family to support you. Your healthcare provider will determine the best treatment options for you based on your medical history and severity of the condition.
A vascular specialist will consider repair of an AAA when:
Repair options include:
St.Vincent is concerned about your health. If you do not have a Primary Care physician and would like to find one in your area, please call 317-356-CARE (2273).