An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulge that occurs in the wall of the major blood vessel (aorta) that carries blood from your heart to your body. Aortic aneurysms can occur anywhere in your aorta and may be tube-shaped (fusiform) or round (saccular).
Aortic aneurysms include:
• Abdominal aortic aneurysm – occurs along the part of the aorta that passes through the abdomen.
• Thoracic aortic aneurysm – occurs along the part of the aorta that passes through the chest cavity.
Aortic aneurysms often grow slowly without noticeable symptoms, making them difficult to detect. Some aneurysms never rupture, and many start small and stay small. Others grow larger over time, sometimes quickly.
If you have an enlarging aortic aneurysm, you might notice:
- Deep, constant pain in the abs or chest
- Back pain
- Pulsing in the abs or chest
Diseases and unhealthy behaviors that damage your heart and blood vessels can increase your risk for aortic aneurysm. While smoking is the most important behavior related to aortic aneurysms, other risk factors include:
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Hardened arteries
- Family history of aortic aneurysms