DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
CLICK TO ENLARGE
|Abdominal aortic aneurysm|
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area in the lower part of the aorta, the major blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. The aorta, about the thickness of a garden hose, runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen. Because the aorta is the body's main supplier of blood, a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding.
Depending on the size and rate at which your abdominal aortic aneurysm is growing, treatment may vary from watchful waiting to emergency surgery. Once an abdominal aortic aneurysm is found, doctors will closely monitor it so that surgery can be planned if it's necessary. Emergency surgery for a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can be risky.
- Aneurysm. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/arm/printall-index.html. Accessed Feb. 15, 2013.
- Aortic aneurysms. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons. http://www.sts.org/patient-information/aneurysm-surgery/aortic-aneurysms. Accessed Feb. 15, 2013.
- Aortic aneurysms. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/cardiovascular_disorders/diseases_of_the_aorta_and_its_branches/aortic_aneurysms.html. Accessed Feb. 16, 2013.
- Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/uspstf/uspsaneu.htm. Accessed Feb. 16, 2013.
- Lewiss RE, et al. Vascular abdominal emergencies. Emergency Medicine Clinics of North America. 2011;29:253.
- Papadakis MA, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2013. 52nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2013. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1. Accessed Feb. 16, 2013.
- Lederle FA, et al. Long-term comparison of endovascular and open repair of abdominal aortic aneurysm. New England Journal of Medicine. 2012;367:1988.
- U.S. News best hospitals 2012-2013: Top-Ranked Hospitals for Cardiology & Heart Surgery. http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings/cardiology-and-heart-surgery. Accessed Feb. 16, 2013.