The abdominal aortic aneurysm is a balloon-like disease that increases the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel in the abdomen, by more than 50%. The aortic aneurysm is slowly progressing over many years, and most of the time it does not feel any symptoms. If the progression is very rapid, the aortic wall tears and bursts, or blood leaks out of the vessel wall.
What is the abdominal aorta?
The abdominal aorta is a blood vessel that sends the artery through the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. The diameter of the normal abdominal aorta is 2 to 2.5 cm, and if it increases to more than 3 cm, it is diagnosed as abdominal aortic aneurysm.
What are the symptoms of abdominal aortic aneurysm?
The abdominal aorta usually grows without symptoms. Some patients grow fast, but usually grow slowly, making the aortic motion difficult to predict. In some cases, the aorta does not rupture. When the aorta ruptures, symptoms such as abdominal distension, pulsation of the abdomen, and shock due to bleeding appear. Half of the ruptured aorta is dead before it reaches the hospital.
What causes abdominal aortic aneurysms?
The most common cause of abdominal aortic aneurysms is arteriosclerosis. Arteriosclerosis weakens the aortic wall. In rare cases, it may be caused by infection, connective tissue disease, inflammatory cause, trauma, or the cause is unclear. Risk factors for abdominal aortic aneurysms include smoking, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, men, drinking and obesity.
How is the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysm?
If an abdominal aortic aneurysm is found, the treatment depends on the size of the aneurysm. The normal aorta is 1.7 cm for males and 1.5 cm for females. If the aneurysm found is less than 3 cm, a follow-up ultrasound scan is not necessary.
An aneurysm measuring 3-4 cm in size should be examined once a year to see if it enlarges. If the aneurysm is 4 to 4.5 cm, it should be monitored every 6 months. If it is 4.5cm or more, surgery should be done immediately.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm diagnosis
Computed tomography of the abdomen is the most accurate and may be diagnosed by abdominal ultrasonography, MRI, or angiography.