Aorta is the largest blood vessel in the human body that carries blood from heart up to your head and arms and down to abdomen, legs, and pelvis. Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA or triple A) refers to an enlargement of the aorta. This enlargement of aorta is due to swelling or bulging out of the walls of aorta like a small balloon when they become weak. As the aorta is the body's main supplier of blood, a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding and is an emergency.
Causes of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
The exact causes of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) are unidentified. It occurs due to weakness in the wall of the artery. Factors that can increase the risk of AAA include:
- High blood pressure
- Male gender
- Genetic factors
- Infection in the aorta
Aneurysms can form in any blood vessel in the patients body. The larger the aneurysm the more likely it is to break opens or tears. This can be life-threatening.
Symptoms of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
If Aneurysm (AAA) is ruptured patient, may experience below signs and symptoms
- Sudden pain in the patient’s abdomen or back
- Spreading pain from abdomen, pelvis, legs and buttocks
- Clammy or sweaty skin
- Increased heart rate
- Shock or loss of consciousness
- A pulsating feeling near the navel
If Patient has any of these signs or symptoms such as sudden severe back or abdominal pain, call your doctor immediately.
Diagnosis of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
To diagnose AAA, doctors will review the patient’s medical and family history and conduct a physical examination. If a doctor suspects that the patient has an aortic aneurysm and specialized tests can confirm it.
These tests might include:
- Abdominal Ultrasound
- Computerized Tomography Scan
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
The goal of treatment is to prevent an aneurysm from rupturing. Generally, the treatment options are medical monitoring or surgery. Doctor's decision depends on the size and exact location of an aortic aneurysm and how fast it's growing. A procedure may be done either with open abdominal surgery or endovascular surgery. If a small AAA is less than the 5.5cm wide doctor may decide to monitor it on daily basis instead of performing a surgery. The most dreaded complication of AAA is dissection of Aorta, which is medical emergency and needs to treated on a war-footing.