What is an aortic aneurysm?
Aorta is an artery that starts in the lower-left chamber of the heart known as the ventricle. It transfers the oxygen-rich blood from an individual’s heart to the other body organs. The aortic aneurysm occurs when there is weakness in the wall of an individual’s aorta. The artery pumping blood pressure causes a balloon-like bulge in the weak area of an individual’s aorta. This bulge is called an aortic aneurysm.
The different types of aortic aneurysms:
There are two distinct types of aortic aneurysm that affect the different parts of an individual’s body:
- The abdominal aortic aneurysm: This can be referred to as AAA; it is formed in the handle of an individual’s aorta and occur more frequently in the life span of an individual because the wall of the abdominal aortic aneurysm is thinner and weaker than the wall of the abdominal aorta.
- The thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is also known as the heart aneurysm, which occurs in the section shaped as an upside U at the top of an individual’s aorta. Moreover, in individuals with Marfan syndrome, which is known as connective tissue disease, a thoracic aortic aneurysm may occur in the ascending aorta.
Is aortic aneurysm common?
The aortic aneurysm is primarily common in men than women. It affects only one percent of men under the age bracket of 55 to 64. However, it becomes more common with every decade of age, and the chances of aortic aneurysms increase by four percent every ten years of an individual’s life.
What are the possible reasons for aortic aneurysm?
The reasons for an aortic aneurysm are most likely to be unknown, but the most common are:
- Atherosclerosis: this is a disorder that exists when plaque (it is a sticky substance that is made of cholesterol, fat, calcium, and other substances) forms up on the inner walls of an individual’s arteries. The building of the plaque leads to the hardening and narrowing of an individual’s arteries.
- Inflammation of the arteries: the temporal arteries are a kind of vasculitis known as the inflammation of the blood veins that leads to swelling in the arteries.
- Family medical background: Individuals with a family history of aortic aneurysms and similar health conditions like Marfan syndrome are most likely to be affected by an aortic aneurysm.
- Any injury to an aorta or infection like syphilis can cause an aorta aneurysm in an individual.
The possible risk factors for an aortic aneurysm are:
Aortic aneurysms occur primarily in people who are:
- Are over the age of 65.
- Have a family history of aortic aneurysms.
- Have hypertension.
The possible indications of an aortic aneurysm are:
In most cases, the symptoms of an aortic aneurysm are not visible until it ruptures. An aneurysm rupture (bursts) is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. However, some common indications of the ruptured aneurysm can include:
- Abnormal heartbeat.
- Light-headedness or dizziness.
- Un-expected and un-explained chest, abdominal or back pain.
The chances of recovery from an aortic aneurysm are greater before it ruptures, as when the aortic aneurysm starts to grow, individuals are likely to experience symptoms like:
- Feeling full, even a tiny portion of their meal.
- Shortness of breath.
- Difficulty while swallowing food.
- Individuals are most likely to experience pain wherever the aneurysm grows, like in the abdomen, chest, neck, or back.
- Swelling in the arm, face, or neck.
When is it vital to visit the healthcare provider?
If an individual experiences the following indications:
- Abnormal heart rate.
- Low blood pressure or hypertension.
- Loss of consciousness.
- Un-explained severe abdomen, chest, or back pain.
How to diagnose an aortic aneurysm?
Primarily aneurysms develop without causing any symptoms. The health care providers mainly discover the aneurysms during an individual’s routine screening or check-ups. Moreover, if an individual is more likely to develop an aortic aneurysm, the healthcare provider will most likely do a diagnostic imaging test. The imaging tests would include:
- CT- scan: computed tomography is a valuable tool for diagnosing injuries and diseases. The CT scan uses X-rays and a computer to produce a 3D picture of the soft tissues and the bones. This process is a painless and non-invasive method of diagnosing diseases.
- MRI angiography is a procedure that uses imaging to show the healthcare provider how the individual’s blood flows through the blood vessels or heart.
- Ultrasound: CT scan ultrasounds are also a non-invasive method of imaging tests that views the structure of the individual’s body with the help of high-intensity sound waves.
How is the aortic aneurysm treated?
An aortic aneurysm may be difficult to treat after the rupture, but there is a possibility to treat an unruptured aortic aneurysm. The healthcare advisor would conduct a detailed examination of the patient with an aortic aneurysm and might recommend the patient for regular screening. For the unruptured aortic aneurysm, the healthcare advisor recommends medications to improve blood circulation, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and prevent an aneurysm from increasing and tearing the artery or bursting. Furthermore, individuals with giant aneurysms are at risk of rupturing and might require surgery. The healthcare provider can recommend the following procedures for the treatment of a large aneurysm depending upon the patient’s medical condition:
- Open aneurysm repair: in this procedure, the healthcare provider removes the aneurysm and sews the specialized tubing graft to fix the artery. The process of open aneurysm repair would also be conducted in the case of aneurysm bursts.
- The EVAR (endovascular aneurysm repair): Also known as the thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR). Endovascular surgery is a minimally invasive surgery to repair the aortic aneurysm. In this procedure, the healthcare
provider utilizes a thin tube to insert a graft to fix or reinforce the artery.
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