Filed under: Heart & Vascular
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weakened and bulging 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. Although you may never have symptoms, finding out you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm can be frightening.
Most small and slow-growing abdominal aortic aneurysms don't rupture, but large, fast-growing abdominal aortic aneurysms may. Depending on the size and rate at which the 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 aneurysm can be risky.
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