An aortic aneurysm is when an area of the aortic wall bulges out. The aorta is largest blood vessel in the body and is responsible for supplying oxygen-rich blood to the circulatory system.
There are two types of aortic aneurysm: thoracic aortic and abdominal aortic (most common). These can be life threatening if the tissue in the wall weakens and separates or if the aorta bursts. The primary warning sign of an aortic aneurysm that is tearing or rupturing is severe pain in your back or belly that doesn’t go away.
For immediate treatment of a ruptured aortic aneurysm in Northern California, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. Dignity Health North State offers state-of-the-art emergency care at these locations:
Recognizing Aortic Aneurysm Symptoms
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:
- Rapid pulse
- Severe pain in the chest or abdomen
- Skin that feels clammy to the touch
- Feelings of doom
If you or a loved one experience these symptoms, call 911 for emergency medical attention.
Aortic Aneurysm Causes
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:
- Coronary artery disease, or heart disease (this is the greatest risk factor)
- Male gender
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Age older than 60
- Inflammation of the aorta
- Family history of aortic aneurysm from genetic disorders
As time goes on, a weak area in the aortic wall will begin to bulge or balloon outward.
Aortic Aneurysm Treatment at Dignity Health North State
If your doctor identifies an aortic aneurysm early on, he or she will likely monitor it and recommend surgery if it starts to get worse. Treatment for an aortic aneurysm depends on its size and location. Dignity Health North State cardiac surgeons perform immediate surgery for thoracic and ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm, as these are life-threatening conditions.
Find a Doctor online and talk with them about ways to prevent these problems. Your doctor may recommend treating high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as not smoking, to reduce your risk. This, combined with regular physical examinations to diagnose problems early on, is the best prevention strategy. To learn more, meet with one of our experienced cardiologists. Dignity Health North State performs emergency surgery for ruptured abdominal and thoracic aortic aneurysms in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.