Aortic Aneurysm (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
When to seek medical care for an aortic aneurysm
Any time a person experiences chest pain or the sensation that something is "just not right" in the chest, consult a medical professional emergently. Have someone take the person to an emergency department; do not let the person attempt to drive themselves.
If a person notices a strong pulse sensation, or a pulsating bulge in the abdomen, they should seek a doctor right away.
If the pain is new, severe, frightening, or feels to be tearing or ripping, one should go immediately to a hospital emergency department. Do not wait it out; immediate treatment can be life saving for aneurysm/dissection as well as in other conditions that cause chest pain.
If an aortic aneurysm ruptures, internal bleeding occurs. This is a medical emergency, because a person can bleed to death in a few minutes.
Severe back, flank, or abdominal pain may be the only symptom of an enlarging aorta. Many other conditions can cause these symptoms, but an aortic aneurysm is the most serious of these conditions.
How is aortic aneurysm diagnosed?
Most aortic aneurysms cause no symptoms and are found when a person undergoes a medical test or procedure for some other reason. Others are found only when the individual has symptoms (described previously).
The typical symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm are not specific. This means that they could be caused by a number of different conditions.
A full exam, with special attention to the cardiovascular system and abdomen, will give clues to the diagnosis.
Probably the first test that will be performed is an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). This is done to rule out a heart attack and other serious heart conditions.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/21/2016
Shabir Bhimji, MD
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Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) represent a degenerative process of the abdominal aorta that is often attributed to atherosclerosis; however, the exact cause is not known. A familiar clustering of AAAs has been noted in 15-25% of patients undergoing repair of the problem.