The word "Aneurysm' means out-pouching or bulging of a portion of a blood vessel that can occur anywhere in the body. When an aneurysm occurs in the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body, it is either a thoracic aneurysm, located the chest, or an abdominal aneurysm.
The elastic fibre in the vessel wall can undergo damage and become weak. This causes the wall to bulge resulting in an aneurysm. The size continues to increase because of the blood pressure and when it reaches a critical size ruptures just like blowing too much air into a balloon. This can be a life-threatening emergency.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms often grow slowly and usually without symptoms, making them difficult to detect. Some aneurysms will never rupture.
As an abdominal aortic aneurysm enlarges, some people may notice:
- A pulsating feeling near the navel.
- Deep, constant pain in your abdomen or on the side of your abdomen.
- Pain that radiates to your back or legs.
- Low blood pressure.
- Fast pulse.
Surgical repair involves removal of the diseased portion of the aorta. Clamps are placed above and below the aneurysm, which is then cut out and removed.
A fabric tube or graft, is sewn onto both cut ends to replace the diseased portion that is removed.