Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
An aneurysm occurs when a blood vessel becomes abnormally large or balloons outward. The abdominal aorta is a large blood vessel that supplies blood to your abdomen, the pelvis, and legs.
The aorta is the largest artery in your body, and it carries blood from your heart out to the rest of the body. Your aorta starts in your chest, where it is called the thoracic aorta. When it reaches your abdomen, it is called the abdominal aorta. The abdominal aorta supplies blood to the intestines, liver and kidneys. Just below the abdomen, the aorta splits into the iliac arteries, which carry blood to each leg.
When a weak area of the abdominal aorta grows, it is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). An abdominal aortic aneurysm can develop in anyone, but it is most frequently seen in people over 50 with one or more risk factors. The larger the aneurysm, the more likely it is to rupture.
Normally, the aorta is about 2.5 cm in diameter. An aneurysmal aorta can grow to 5 cm or beyond. Aneurysms this large are a health risk because of the chance of rupture. This can cause massive internal bleeding and can be fatal. When diagnosed early, abdominal aortic aneurysms can be treated, or even cured, with highly effective and safe treatments.