An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when there is an enlargement present in the lower portion of the aorta, which is the vessel responsible for supplying blood throughout the body. Depending on the size and overall development of the aneurysm, it can quickly become a life-threatening condition if a rupture occurs.
There are a number of risk factors associated with abdominal aortic aneurysms. These aneurysms occur most frequently in individuals age 65 and older, as well as those who have a prior family history of the condition. Individuals that make use of tobacco products or have been previously diagnosed with atherosclerosis have a higher risk for developing abdominal aortic aneurysms. Research suggests that males develop this condition more often than females.
Generally, abdominal aortic aneurysms tend to develop gradually and may not always present symptoms. As the aneurysm continues to grow and enlarge, symptoms may begin to become more evident. These symptoms include, but are not limited to: back pain, a pulsating sensation in the navel area, and the presence of consistent pain within or on the side of the abdomen. Individuals experiencing these symptoms are encouraged to contact their doctor immediately
Treatments for this condition vary depending on the size of the aneurysm. Small and medium-sized aneurysms may be treated with observation and medication instead of surgery. If the aneurysm is large or presents signs of leakage, it may be treated with endovascular surgery or open-abdominal surgery.