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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Overview

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a disorder caused when the large blood vessel whose function is to supply blood to the pelvis, abdomen, and legs becomes unusually large or balloons outward. It is basically the widening of the abdominal portion of the aorta (the major artery from the heart). It can happen to anyone but is usually males above the age of 60 are prone to it. People with obesity, high blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking as a habit have a higher risk factor of getting the disorder.

 


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Causes

Abdominal aortic aneurysm can be caused due to injury, infection, or congenitalweakening of the connective tissue component of the artery wall. The exact cause is unknown, but risks include atherosclerosis and hypertension. A common complication of this condition is a ruptured aortic aneurysm. If the aneurysm breaks open, there is excessive bleeding. Aortic dissection occurs when the lining of the artery tears and blood leaks into the wall of the artery. An aneurysm that dissects is at even greater risk of rupture. Blunt abdominal injury or Marfan's syndrome can be a cause for abdominal aortic aneurysm in children.


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Signs & Symptoms

Aneurysms may develop slowly over many years and often have no symptoms. If the aneurysm expands rapidly, tears open (ruptured aneurysm), or blood leaks along the wall of the vessel (aortic dissection) , the following symptoms may develop suddenly.

The various symptoms of this disorder include abdomen hernia or mass, midline, pulsating, with tenderness to touch. A pulsating sensation in the abdomen with severe, sudden, persistent or constant pain. The pain may radiate to groin, buttocks, legs or lower back. The skin and mouth feels dry, increased thirst, anxiety, sweating,fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Lightheadedness occurs with upright posture, fainting occurs with upright posture. The heartbeat becomes rapid (tachycardia) when rising to standing position and an impaired ability to concentrate.

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Prevention

There is not too much that can be done to reduce the risk of developing aneurysms, but avoiding consumption of tobacco, eating healthy food, exercising regularly and getting regular physical examination could reduce the risk. Avoiding blunt trauma to the abdomen, and also conditions of atherosclerosis and hypertension, can help in prevention.


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Treatments
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Modern Medicine

Surgery

Surgery Modern Medicine

In the case of a small aneurysm the doctor advises only periodic check ups and evaluation which may include ultrasounds. But if the aneurysm shows growth or problematic symptoms it may need a surgery to avoid further complication. This is a case when the aneurysm is larger than 5.5 cm in size and is increasing at a fast rate in size. There are two procedures of surgery. In the traditional or open repair method, a cut is made in the abdomen and the problematic vessel is replaces with a graft made of artificial substance like Dracon. The other approach is known as endovascular stent grafting popularly known as stenting. Small, hollow tubes called catheters are inserted through arteries in the groin, thus making space for blood to move freely. This method doesn’t involve making cuts in the abdomen but it also cannot be used or is feasible in all cases.

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