Aortic Aneurysm Repair
An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the wall of an artery. Normally , the walls of arteries are thick and muscular, allowing them to withstand a large amount of pressure. Occasionally, however a weak area develops in the wall of an artery. This allows the pressure within the artery to push outwards creating a bulge or ballooned area called an aneurysm. Aneurysms can form in any blood vessel, but they occur most commonly in the aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Aortic aneurysms can occur in two main places:
Abdominal aortic aneurysms occur in the part of the aorta that passes through the middle to low abdomen. Thoracic aortic aneurysms occur on the aorta as it passes through the chest cavity. These are less common than abdominal aneurysms.
Risk factors of Aneurysms
- Atherosclerotic plaque formation at the site of the aneurysm. This causes further weakening of the artery wall
- A blood clot may form at the site and dislodge, increasing the chance of stroke.
- Increase in the size of the aneurysm, causing it to press on other organs. This may cause pain.
- Aneurysm rupture. Because the artery wall thins at this spot, it is fragile and may burst under stress. The rupture of an aortic aneurysm is a catastrophic, life-threatening event.
- Atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which weakens arterial walls.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure).
- Local injury to the artery.
- Congenital abnormality. A number of conditions, such as Marfan syndrome or bicuspid aortic valves are present at birth and can cause weakness of the artery walls.
- Syphilis used to be a common cause of thoracic aneurysms, but it is no longer as common.