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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC

Vascular Surgery, Wound Care, and Podiatry located throughout Maryland

As an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) enlarges, it can rupture, making this condition the 15th leading cause of death. The board-certified physicians at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, regularly monitor your AAA to determine when you need treatment to prevent serious complications. To learn if you need AAA screening or to schedule an appointment, call the nearest office or book online today. They have multiple locations in Bel Air, Baltimore, Towson, Westminster, Elkton, Frederick, Ellicott City, Hampstead, Abingdon, Columbia, Lutherville, Severna Park, MD, Wilmington, and Newark, DE.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Q & A

What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

Your aorta leaves your heart and travels through your chest and down into your abdomen. An aortic aneurysm occurs when a small portion of the artery wall weakens.

The force of blood flowing through the artery pushes the area out, creating a balloon-like bulge called an aneurysm. When you have an AAA, the aneurysm develops in the part of the aorta located in your abdomen.

What symptoms develop due to an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

A small AAA seldom causes symptoms, but most aneurysms get progressively larger. As the bulge enlarges, you may experience pain in your abdomen or back or feel a pulsing sensation near your belly button.

A large aneurysm can rupture. When that happens, you have symptoms such as:

  • Sudden, severe pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fast pulse
  • Sweating

A ruptured AAA causes extensive internal bleeding, making it a life-threatening emergency that needs rapid treatment.

Who needs abdominal aortic aneurysm screening?

Your provider recommends AAA screening based on your risk factors. The top risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Family history of AAA
  • Older than 50-60
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Peripheral vascular disease

If a close relative had an AAA, you have a 12-times higher risk.

How is an abdominal aortic aneurysm treated?

Your treatment depends on the size and growth of your AAA. If you have a small aneurysm, your provider regularly monitors the artery using diagnostic abdominal ultrasound.

Watchful waiting is safe while the aneurysm is small. Routine ultrasounds allow your provider to see how fast it enlarges and determine when you need treatment.

Rapidly growing or large AAAs need surgery to repair and strengthen the bulging section of the aorta. Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, performs one of the following, based on your unique health needs:

Endovascular aneurysm repair

Your provider makes a small incision in an artery in your groin, then uses real-time imaging to guide a catheter through the blood vessels to the aneurysm.

After positioning the catheter in the weakened area, they place a stent graft into the aorta. Blood then flows through the stent and doesn’t push into the aneurysm.

Open surgery

Open surgery allows your provider to quickly reach the aneurysm, remove it, and use a synthetic tube to replace the diseased aorta.

If you have questions about abdominal aortic aneurysms, call Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, or book an appointment online today.