Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm — Know It All!
All you need to know about Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm.
Know your ailment well, so you can manage it better!!
Here we come with an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm today!
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area which supplies blood to the body (aorta) in the lower part of the main vessel. The aorta runs through the middle of your chest and abdomen, from your heart.
The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, so life-threatening bleeding can be caused by a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Treatment ranges from watchful waiting to emergency surgery, depending on the size of the aneurysm and how quickly it’s rising.
Typically, AAAs are classified by their size and the pace at which they evolve. These two variables can help to predict the aneurysm’s health effects.
- Generally, small (less than 5.5 centimeters) or slow-growing AAAs have a much lower chance of rupture than larger or faster-growing aneurysms. Doctors also assume that tracking them with daily abdominal ultrasounds is better than treating them.
- Large or fast-growing AAAs (greater than 5.5 centimeters) are much more likely than small or slow-growing aneurysms to rupture. Internal bleeding and other serious complications may result from a rupture. The larger the aneurysm, the more likely it is that surgery will be necessary to treat it. If these forms of aneurysms cause signs or leakage of blood, they may need to be treated.
Aneurysms can occur anywhere along the aorta, but in the section of your aorta that is in your abdomen, most aortic aneurysms happen. In developing an aortic aneurysm, a number of factors may play a role, including:
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis occurs when fat and other substances build up on the lining of a blood vessel.
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage and weaken the aorta’s walls.
- Blood vessel diseases. These are diseases that cause blood vessels to become inflamed.
- Infection in the aorta. Rarely, a bacterial or fungal infection might cause abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- Trauma. For example, being in a car accident can cause abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm risk factors include:
- Tobacco use. The biggest risk factor is smoking. The aortic walls may be damaged, raising the risk not only of developing an aortic aneurysm but also of rupture. The longer and more you smoke or chew tobacco, the greater the risk that an aortic aneurysm will form.
- Age. These aneurysms occur most often in people aged 65 and older.
- Being male. Men develop abdominal aortic aneurysms much more often than women do.
- Being white. People who are white are at higher risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
- Family history. Having a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms increases your risk of having the condition.
- Other aneurysms. Having an aneurysm in another large blood vessel, such as the artery behind the knee or the aorta in the chest, might increase your risk of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
The main complications are tears in one or more of the layers of the aorta wall (aortic dissection) or a ruptured aneurysm. A rupture can cause internal bleeding that is life-threatening. The larger the aneurysm and the faster it develops, the greater the chance of rupture, in general.
Signs and symptoms of a rupture of your aortic aneurysm can include:
- Sudden abdominal or back pain, severe and persistent, which can be described as a tearing sensation
- Blood Pressure Low
- Rapid pulse
Aortic aneurysms often put you at risk that the region could form blood clots. It may cause discomfort or block blood flow to the legs, toes, kidneys or abdominal organs if a blood clot breaks loose from the inside wall of an aneurysm and blocks a blood vessel elsewhere in the body.
May Be Absent :
- In most cases, abdominal aortic aneurysms cause no symptoms and are found when you are being evaluated for another medical condition.
Sudden, Severe Abdominal Or Back Pain :
- If you have a family history of AAA and feel sudden, severe pain in your abdomen or back, seek immediate care. These symptoms may signal that you have developed an AAA, possibly one in the process of rupturing.
Pain, Discolored Skin, Sores On Feet And Toes :
- A small percentage of patients with AAA have these symptoms when plaque or blood clots from elsewhere in the body collect in the feet and toes.
Most aneurysms have no symptoms unless they rupture. If an AAA does rupture, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- sudden pain in your abdomen or back
- pain spreading from your abdomen or back to your pelvis, legs, or buttocks
- clammy or sweaty skin
- increased heart rate
- shock or loss of consciousness
During testing for some cause or during routine medical examinations, such as an ultrasound of the heart or abdomen, abdominal aortic aneurysms are frequently detected.
Doctors will study your medical and family history and do a physical test in order to diagnose an abdominal aortic aneurysm. If your doctor believes you have an aortic aneurysm, it can be confirmed by advanced tests, such as the following ones.
Ultrasound abdominals. Most specifically, this procedure is used for diagnosing abdominal aortic aneurysms. While a technician moves a wand (transducer) around your abdomen, you lie on a table. Ultrasound transfers images to a computer screen using sound waves.
Scanning by CT. This painless test can send clear images of your aorta to your doctor and can detect the size and shape of an aneurysm.
You lie on a table inside a doughnut-shaped computer during a CT scan. To create cross-sectional images of the body, CT scanning produces X-rays. You may have contrast dye inserted into your blood vessels that makes the CT images (CT angiography) of your arteries more noticeable.
RI. MRI. You lie on a movable table that slides into a machine in this test. To build pictures of your body, an MRI uses a magnetic field and bursts of radio wave energy. To make them more noticeable (magnetic resonance angiography), you may get a dye inserted into your blood vessels.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm screening
Being male and smoking substantially raises the risk of an aortic abdominal aneurysm. Recommendations on screening differ, but in general:
Using an abdominal ultrasound, men aged 65 to 75 who have ever smoked cigarettes should have a one-time screening.
Your doctor will decide on the need for an abdominal ultrasound for men aged 65 to 75 who have never smoked, usually based on other risk factors, such as a family history of aneurysm.
There is not enough evidence to establish whether the screening of abdominal aortic aneurysm will support women aged 65 to 75 who have ever smoked cigarettes or have a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm. Based on your risk factors, ask your doctor if you need to get an ultrasound scan. Generally, women who have never smoked do not need to be checked for the disease.
The objective of treatment, either medical monitoring or surgery, is to prevent the rupture of your aneurysm. Depending on the size of the aortic aneurysm and how fast it is growing, which treatment you have.
If your abdominal aortic aneurysm is small and you don’t have symptoms, your doctor might recommend this option. You will have daily appointments to check whether your aneurysm is increasing and medication to control other medical problems that may exacerbate your aneurysm, such as high blood pressure.
To check the extent of your aneurysm, you’ll probably need routine imaging scans. Expect an abdominal ultrasound at least six months after the diagnosis of your aneurysm and regular follow-up examinations.
If the aneurysm is 1.9 to 2.2 inches (4.8 to 5.6 centimeters) or greater, or if it is rising rapidly, the repair is usually recommended. Also, if you have symptoms such as stomach pain or you have a leaky, tender, or painful aneurysm, your doctor might recommend surgery.
Repair options may include: Depending on several variables, including the location and size of the aneurysm, your age, and other conditions you have:
- Open abdominal surgery. This involves removing the damaged section of the aorta and replacing it with a synthetic tube (graft), which is sewn into place. Full recovery is likely to take a month or more.
- Endovascular repair. This less invasive procedure is used more often. Doctors attach a synthetic graft to the end of a thin tube (catheter) that’s inserted through an artery in your leg and threaded into your aorta.
The graft — a woven tube covered by a metal mesh support — is placed at the site of the aneurysm, expanded, and fastened in place. It reinforces the weakened section of the aorta to prevent the rupture of the aneurysm.
Endovascular surgery isn’t an option for about 30 percent of people with an aneurysm. After endovascular surgery, you’ll need regular imaging tests to ensure that the repair isn’t leaking.
Long-term survival rates are similar for both endovascular surgery and open surgery.
All Images used are for representation purposes and are obtained from google search and we do not intend to violate copyrights, all credits are due with respective content owners. If you wish to take credit or intend to remove the image, Kindly let us know in the comments.
Gopala Krishna Varshith,
Content Developer & Editor,