Medical Questions » Arteries and Veins Questions » Question No. 74
|Question:||A recent ultrasound has shown a medium-sized aneurysm of my abdominal aorta that the doctors intend to watch with repeated ultrasound examinations. Can you tell me how serious this condition is, and what can happen to me?|
|Answer:||An aneurysm is the ballooning out of one part of an artery at a weak point. There are several different types of aneurysm, some of which are very dangerous, while others are quite innocuous. The aorta is the main artery of the body that runs from the heart down the back of the chest and belly.
On an X-ray or ultrasound, the size, shape and type of aneurysm can be determined. This may vary from a tiny narrow-necked balloon on the side of the artery, to a generalised swelling on one side and along the length of an artery.
If your doctor was at all concerned about the aneurysm, surgery would have been recommended. Many aneurysms develop very slowly, and can be checked by regularly repeated X-rays or ultrasound examinations. If the aneurysm does not change from one year to the next, major surgery can be avoided. If the aneurysm is shown to be enlarging, surgery can be arranged electively.
The greatest danger from an aneurysm is that it may rupture. If this occurs, the patient will be severely ill, and require emergency surgery. Certain types of aneurysm are more likely to rupture than others.|