Abdominal aortic aneurysm is the ballooning of the aorta artery in its last section in the abdomen. Originating in the left ventricle of the heart, the aorta is a major blood vessel which supply the body with oxygen-rich blood. In abdominal aortic aneurysm, the weakened bulging point affects the middle and the innermost layers of the aorta walls (tunica media and intima, respectively). These include accumulation of lipids in foam cells, extracellular free cholesterol crystals, calcifications, thrombosis, and ulcerations and ruptures of the layers. Abdominal aortic aneurysms is a degenerative process of the abdominal aorta that is often attributed to atherosclerosis, genetic influences, tobacco smoking, and other causes, such as infection, trauma, arteritis, and cystic medial necrosis.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is usually diagnosed by physical exam, ultrasound, or CT. Plain abdominal radiographs may show the outline of an aneurysm when its walls are calcified. However, this is the case in less than half of all aneurysms. Ultrasonography is used to screen for aneurysms and to determine the size of any present. Abdominal aortic aneurysm develops slowly over many years and often have no symptoms. Nevertheless, when an aneurysm expands rapidly, tears open (ruptured aneurysm), with blood leaking along the wall of the vessel, symptoms may develop suddenly; they include: severe pain in the abdomen, clammy skin, nausea, voting, etc. The only treatment is surgery to repair the damaged area of the aorta.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (Video)