What is Aortic Aneurysm (dilation)?
Aorta is the largest blood vessel and carries clean blood to all organs in the body. The aorta carries approximately 3-7 litres of blood per minute and the rhythm generated by the aorta through pressure is called blood pressure. Aorta may enlarge as a result of several causes and the problems associated with the aorta mainly progress silently and are generally detected during routine check-ups.
Aortic aneurysm is the ballooning of the vessel as a result of deformation and weakening for several reasons. Aortic aneurysm is the case where the diameter of the vessels enlarges by 50%. Aortic aneurysm is a very severe disease because the pressure in the vessel may increase and the aneurysm can rupture.
What are the symptoms of aortic aneurysm?
Aortic aneurysm in general does not lead to any complaint. However, you may feel sense of pressure around the site of aneurysm. Besides, when the aneurysm occurs around the exit of the heart, it may result in very severe conditions such as aortic valve insufficiency. Furthermore, when it occurs around the trachea, it results in shortness of breath and back pain; and also abdominal pain when it occurs around the abdomen.
The symptoms for rupture of aortic aneurysms are severe pain around the chest and abdomen, sweating, nausea and vomiting and dizziness. In case internal bleeding occurs as a result of rupture, the patient may be in shock and will require emergency medical care.
Aortic aneurysms are generally diagnosed during routine check-ups. In particular, all men between 60-85 years of age, all individuals between 60-85 years of age with cardiovascular risk and all individuals over 50 with family history of aortic aneurysm should regularly undergo abdominal ultrasonography.
Causes of Aortic Dilation and Treatment
Inherited and acquired factors may contribute to the enlargement of the aorta. The following may weaken the aortic wall and cause aneurysms:
- High cholesterol level
- High blood pressure
- Arterial stiffness
- Injuries or infections
Treatment of aortic aneurysm
While, patients with small aneurysms are regularly followed by using various screening modalities, patients with large aneurysms are treated by endovascular methods or by open surgery. The treatment is decided based on the age and weight of the patient and the location and size of the aneurysm.