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Sometimes the walls of an artery (the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your body) may become weak or injured. When this occurs, the artery can no longer handle the normal force of blood pressing against it. This may cause a balloon-like bulge in the artery, known as an aneurysm. They can cause dangerous bleeding if they rupture or dissect, and can be life-threatening.

Most aneurysms happen in the aorta (the main artery that travels through your chest and abdomen). If an aneurysm occurs in the chest portion of the aorta, it’s called a thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA). If it occurs in the abdominal portion, it is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

Types of Aneurysm

There are several types of aneurysms that can occur, such as:

  • Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms​ (AAA) is an enlargement of the lower part of the aorta that extends through the abdominal area.
  • Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm (TAA) is an enlargement of the upper part of the aorta that extends through the chest cavity.
  • Pseudoaneurysm​ is a leakage of arterial blood from an artery into the surrounding tissue with a continuing communication between the originating artery and the resultant adjacent cavity.

Symptoms of Aneurysm

Most aortic aneurysms don't cause symptoms. At times, a physician may find an aneurysm when performing tests or exams for other purposes. For people who do experience symptoms, these include complaints of belly, chest, or back pain and discomfort. Aortic aneurysm symptoms may come and go or stay constant.

In the most severe of circumstances, an aortic aneurysm may burst or rupture, causing sever pain and bleeding. Unless treated immediately, an aortic aneurysm may result in death.​

Aneurysm Treatment Options

When it comes to diagnosing and treating aortic aneurysm, the Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute is a nationally recognized leader. With its exceptional team of physician experts and staff, progressive technology, and state-of-the-art surgical facilities, Hoag continues to lead the way in comprehensive vascular disease treatment​ both locally and nationwide, including innovative hybrid surgical options that may not be available at other centers. Learn more about the innovative minimally invasive treatment options for aneurysms available at Hoag.

Learn more about the Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute's top rated vascular disease program: