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Aortic Aneurysm

Your heart pumps blood into your aorta—the largest artery in your body. The aorta carries oxygen-rich blood from the heart to your entire body.

Sometimes the wall of the aorta can weaken. If this happens, the wall expands because of the constant pressure of blood flowing against it and may bulge or balloon out. This condition is called an aortic aneurysm. It can happen in your chest (thoracic aortic aneurysm) or abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysm).

If you’ve been told you have an aortic aneurysm, it probably took you by surprise. Usually there are no symptoms. The aneurysm is often found by chance on imaging tests that were ordered to rule out other problems. Still, it can be a scary diagnosis. As the aneurysm gets bigger, it can burst, causing internal bleeding that is nearly always fatal. But through careful monitoring, you and your health care team can keep close tabs on the aneurysm to figure out the best course of action—one that helps you live a long, active life. 

Treatment depends on the location, size and cause of the aneurysm and how fast it is growing.  Treatment may include careful monitoring, surgery, medications, and/or lifestyle changes. Use this condition center to learn more about living with aortic aneurysm. You can also read about the latest research, create a list of questions to ask your doctor and much more.

  • Last Edited 05/31/2018

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