Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Amelia Heart & Vascular Center is a respected leader in vascular medicine serving the Northern Virginia area.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is when there is an enlarged area in the lower part of the aorta, the blood vessel that distributes oxygen rich blood to the vital organs. A rupture in the aortic aneurysm can lead to life-threatening bleeding, however depending on the size and how fast it is growing, treatment will vary.

Causes:

Aneurysms can develop anywhere along the aorta. Developing an aortic aneurysm can occur due to certain factors

  • Hardening of the arteries
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood vessel diseases

Symptoms:

Abdominal aortic aneurysms usually grow slowly which makes them hard to detect. If the patient has an enlarging abdominal aortic aneurysm, the patient may notice that they have the following symptoms

  • Constant pain in or side of the abdomen
  • Back pain
  • Pulse near bellybutton

Imaging and Diagnostics:

There are many ways for the doctor to diagnose abdominal aortic aneurysms. Listed below are imaging tests the doctor may use to properly diagnose abdominal aortic aneurysms

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • MRI

Treatments:

Treatment will depend on the severity of the aortic aneurysm. The goal of the treatment is to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing. Methods of treatment include

  • Open abdominal surgery
  • Endovascular repair

Lifestyle Changes:

The doctor may suggest lifestyle changes to prevent rupturing of the abdominal aortic aneurysm. These suggestions may include

  • Avoid heavy lifting
  • Avoid vigorous physical activity
  • Avoid stressful situations

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