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The signs and symptoms of an aortic aneurysm typically don’t occur until the problem is so severe that it causes the aneurysm to burst or leak. When this happens, the most common symptoms include:
If you or a loved one experience these symptoms, call 911 for emergency medical attention.
The main cause of an aortic aneurysm is a weak area in the wall of the aorta. Risk factors that increase your chances of developing aortic aneurysms include:
As time goes on, a weak area in the aortic wall will begin to bulge or balloon outward.
The location and the severity of an aortic aneurysm influence your treatment options. Small abdominal aortic aneurysms may not need treatment, other than monitoring for signs of growth. Thoracic (chest) aortic aneurysms are more likely to require treatment.
Generally, aortic aneurysms that grow quickly or are larger than two inches require surgical intervention. Surgical options include:
You will not have a chance to review your treatment options if you have a leaking or ruptured aneurysm. These conditions are treated by emergency surgery.
If your aneurysm is intact, and you have the benefit of time, discuss the risks and likely outcomes of all available treatment options. With an abdominal aortic aneurysm, you may be able to opt for a wait-and-see approach.
Aortic aneurysms can occur in otherwise healthy people. However, you can lower your risk for aortic aneurysms by following these tips:
For a more detailed discussion of aneurysm prevention strategies, or any other cardiovascular concern, use our Find a Doctor tool and choose a Dignity Health cardiology specialist in Ventura County.