Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm(AAA)

Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a very common disease in which the lower portion of abdominal aorta is enlarged making a balloon like structure called aneurysm. Abdominal aortic aneurysm makes the aorta weak and bulging.The aorta is the main artery in human body which supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis and legs. The aorta runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen. Since, aorta is responsible for the distribution of oxygenated blood to all parts of your body, a ruptured aorta can cause internal bleeding and can be life threating.Usually, abdominal aortic aneurysm grows slowly making detection difficult. In some AAA cases, the wall never ruptures.Abdominal aortic aneurysm starts small but can expand over time.Some aneurysm expand quickly and some retain at their small sizeThe size and growth rate of abdominal aortic aneurysm decides the treatment which varies from watchful waiting to an emergency surgery which can be risky.

Symptoms and complications:- The abdominal aortic aneurysm disease can be with or without symptoms which makes diagnosis difficult. When an abdominal aortic aneurysm enlarges, people may feel

Rupturing in the wall of aorta(dissection) is the main complication associated with abdominal aortic aneurysm. It depends on the size of aneurysm, the larger the aneurysm, the greater the risk of rupturing. A ruptured aortic aneurysm may cause internal bleeding which can be life threatening.

Signs and symptoms that your aortic aneurysm has ruptured are:-

One major complication associated with abdominal aortic aneurysm is the risk of blood clots. Aortic aneurysm area can develop small blood clots which if breaks loose from the inside wall of aneurysm and blocks a blood vessel elsewhere in your body, it can cause pain or block the blood flow to the other body organs.

Causes:- a Although the cause of abdominal aortic aneurysm is unknown, some factors that can increase the problem are:-

Tests and Diagnosis:- Abdominal aortic aneurysm often have no symptoms and are predicted during examination of other problems. Like, if you go for a routine checkup and your doctor finds a pulsating bulge in your abdomen. Abdominal aortic aneurysm are often found during medical tests, such as chest X-ray or ultrasound of the heart or abdomen, sometimes ordered for a different reason.When your doctor suspects about aortic aneurysm, further specialized tests are done to confirm it. The tests may include:-

There are two types of surgery for aneurysm:-

  1. Open Abdomen Surgery:- An open abdomen surgery is done to cure an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It involves removing the ruptured section of the aorta and replacing it with a synthetic tube (graft) which is sewn in to place through an open abdominal method. This surgery usually takes a month or more to recover
  2. Endovascular Surgery:- Endovascular surgery is used to repair an aneurysm. Doctors attach a synthetic graft to the end of a thin tube (catheter)which is inserted through an artery in your leg and threaded up in to your aorta. The graft - a woven tube covered by a metal mesh support - is placed at the site of the aneurysm and fastened in place with small hooks or pins.The graft reinforces the weakened section of the aorta to prevent rupture of the aneurysm. The recovery time is shorter than open abdomen surgery but follow up appointments are more frequent because endovascular grafts can leak.

The treatment of aneurysm varies according to different factors like location of the aneurysm, your age, kidney function etc and other conditions that can increase the risk of surgery or repair.

Prevention: You can prevent the disease by following a healthy life style and keep your blood vessel as healthy as possible. Follow some easy steps listed below:-

If you have any risk factor for aortic aneurysm like age, high blood pressure, smoking habit or anything that increases the risk of getting abdominal aortic aneurysm, you must consult your doctor and take some additional measures to reduce the risk of abdominal aortic aneurysm.

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