What is an aneurysm?
An aneurysm develops when the blood vessel wall weakens, then begins to balloon out from the force of blood pushing against the weak spot. Blood vessel walls may weaken from damage caused by:
- High blood pressure
If the blood vessel wall continues to weaken, the aneurysm will grow over time. When it gets too large, it ruptures or tears the blood vessel wall. This is a life-threatening emergency because it results in severe bleeding that often leads to death.
Where do aneurysms occur?
Aneurysms can occur throughout the body, including in the brain. However, they typically develop in the aorta, which is the primary artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Aortic aneurysms are named according to their location. A thoracic aortic aneurysm is in the chest portion of the aorta, while an abdominal aortic aneurysm develops in the abdomen.
What symptoms may develop from an aneurysm?
Symptoms such as pain in the back, chest, or abdomen, throbbing in the abdomen, or shortness of breath may develop when the aneurysm is large enough to press on a nearby body part or block blood flow. A sudden, severe pain in the back and/or abdomen signals a rupture.
How are aneurysms treated?
For the first step, you have a vascular ultrasound or other diagnostic imaging such as a CT scan or echocardiography. The images allow Dr. Chadda to diagnose the presence of an aneurysm and to determine its size.
You may not need treatment if your aneurysm is small, but regular screenings are essential to keep an eye on the aneurysm’s growth. Dr. Chadda also prescribes lifestyle changes and medications to treat the underlying conditions that contribute to aneurysms.
When your aneurysm reaches a specific size, you need a minimally invasive procedure called vascular stenting.
A stent is a narrow tube that Dr. Chadda inserts into the artery to strengthen the wall and divert blood flow so it doesn’t go into the bulging aneurysm.
To perform abdominal aortic vascular stenting, Dr. Chadda makes a small incision in your groin and inserts a narrow catheter into one of the blood vessels.
Using real-time imaging, he guides the catheter through the vessel to the site of the aneurysm and then releases the stent from the catheter, positioning it to cover the aneurysm.
To learn if you need screening for an aneurysm or to receive treatment, call Advanced Heart & Vascular Associates or schedule an appointment online.