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Repairing Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm


An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), sometimes referred to as a stomach aneurysm, is a weak area in the wall of aorta. The aorta is the major artery extending from the heart into the pelvic area that delivers oxygen-rich blood to the lower body. When the weak portion of the artery wall bulges outward anywhere along the aorta, an aneurysm occurs. 

Because a stomach aneurysm can be life-threatening if it bursts, it’s important to get screened if you’re at risk. Dignity Health offers trusted screening and treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysm in the Bay Area. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), sometimes referred to as a stomach aneurysm, is a weak area in the wall of aorta. The aorta is the major artery extending from the heart into the pelvic area that delivers oxygen-rich blood to the lower body. When the weak portion of the artery wall bulges outward anywhere along the aorta, an aneurysm occurs. 

Because a stomach aneurysm can be life-threatening if it bursts, it’s important to get screened if you’re at risk. Dignity Health offers trusted screening and treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysm in the Bay Area. Find a Doctor today.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening

AAA is referred to as a “silent disease” because it often produces no symptoms until the situation becomes life threatening. For this reason, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends a one-time abdominal aortic aneurysm screening for all men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have ever smoked. Since women are at lower risk for the condition, they do not need to be screened. Screening takes 10 to 15 minutes and involves an ultrasound of your stomach to look for a bulge in the aorta.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Symptoms

When abdominal aortic aneurysm symptoms do occur, they include:

  • Pain in the belly, chest, back, neck, or jaw
  • A sensation of feeling your heartbeat in your abdomen
  • Difficulty breathing

An abdominal aortic aneurysm rupture requires immediate emergency medical treatment. Call 9-1-1 if you think you’re experiencing symptoms of rupture, including:

  • Lower back or abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness

Risk Factors for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Certain risk factors increase risk of AAA, including:

  • Being a male 
  • Being over the age of 65
  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Hardening of the arteries
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

Take our online heart risk assessment to learn more.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair at Dignity Health

If screening uncovers an abdominal aortic aneurysm, your medical team will focus on avoiding a rupture. If you have a small to medium aneurysm, you’ll be monitored with yearly imaging scans. If it’s large, you’ll likely be referred to a specialist to discuss whether abdominal aortic aneurysm repair is necessary. You may need surgery to place a stent inside the artery at the weakened area, which relieves pressure on the artery wall and helps prevent a rupture.

While an AAA can occur even if you’re not at risk, you may be able to prevent the condition with a heart-healthy lifestyle. Dignity Health doctors will help you maintain healthy habits that may prevent an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Preventative strategies include quitting smoking, keeping a healthy weight, controlling high blood pressure, and getting regular exercise. 

Dignity Health offers personal care for abdominal aortic aneurysm in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.