Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area of the lower part of the abdominal aorta.
What is Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?
Weakening of the vessel wall leads to enlargement of a small part of the aorta, the major vessel that supplies blood to the body. The aorta runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen and divides into two arteries running to the legs.
In general, this widening is a slow process. Often it runs in families. The most important risk factor is arterial hypertension. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, so a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding into the abdominal cavity.
Depending on the size of the aneurysm and how fast it may grow, treatment varies from watchful waiting to emergency surgery.
The thoracic aorta grows very slowly at about 0.1 cm per year. The descending aorta grows faster than the ascending.
The larger an aneurysm, the greater the risk that it will rupture. It is estimated that an abdominal aortic aneurysm over 5.5 cm in diameter will rupture within one year in about 3 to 6 out of 100 patients.
What are the symptoms of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?
Until a very advanced stage, the aortic aneurysm remains asymptomatic, making it difficult to detect.
When abdominal pain occurs, the aneurysm may have reached a significant size making an acute rupture more likely, a highly emergent and mostly lethal situation.
The goal is to diagnose early, to follow evolution closely and to treat before symptoms occur.
What imaging/tests are done to diagnose Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?
Abdominal Ultrasound with Color-doppler
Angio-CT scan or Angio-MRI scan
What intervention/treatment can be performed for an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?
Minimally invasive interventional aortic graft insertion/ aortic stent insertion
Surgical repair requiring opening of the abdominal wall