Aortic Aneurysm: What it is, Symptoms and Treatments


People over 65 should pay more attention to symptoms

The aorta is an important artery of the human body that is in the region of the abdomen. Therefore, doctors also call the aortic aneurysm an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This type of aneurysm is less known than the cerebral aneurysm, but it presents a great health risk since it can be asymptomatic and lethal. Learn more about it and learn to prevent it.

What is it

According to the information of the Sirio-Lebanese Hospital specialists, the aortic aneurysm is characterized by dilations of at least 3 centimeters in this artery. While some people spend years with this asymptomatic dilation, in others it happens quickly, putting their lives at risk.

Causes and risk factors

It is not associated with the brain type, but it has to do with atherosclerosis, a disease in which the excess fat accumulated in the arterial walls, usually due to high cholesterol, causes the walls to break, spill in the blood and cause a clot that interrupts blood flow. Look at the risk factors for aneurysm and also its main causes:

  • Aging (65 years and over);
  • Prevalence in the male sex;
  • Smoke;
  • High cholesterol;
  • Obesity;
  • Physical inactivity;
  • Family history of aneurysm;
  • Atherosclerosis


It is usually asymptomatic and can be diagnosed in routine exams such as an abdominal ultrasound that evaluates the health of multiple organs at the same time. However, when the dilation of the artery occurs rapidly and the artery ruptures or is about to rupture, some symptoms are perceived:

  • Abdominal pulse sensation;
  • Strong and persistent pain in the abdomen or back;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Pressure drop;
  • Acceleration of heart rate;
  • Hemorrhagic shock when there is a significant loss of blood.

How do you make the diagnostic?

As already mentioned, the aortic aneurysm can be detected in routine tests on the annual checkup. First, the doctor will do an abdominal palpation in the office even to check if there is a different pulse than normal in the region where the artery is located. The tests that can be done to make sure the aneurysm are:

  • Ultrasound;
  • Magnetic resonance;
  • CT scan
  • Risk group monitoring

As a form of prevention or early treatment, the risk group detection policy in Brazil is as follows:

Male smokers between 65 and 75 should have an annual abdominal ultrasound exam.

In the event that the test shows an aneurysm smaller than 2.6 centimeters, it is not necessary to perform another exam every year, but every 3 years.


Before thinking about treating the problem already installed, doctors recommend prevention as soon as possible.

  • Habits to prevent abdominal aneurysm
  • Maintain a healthy diet;
  • Practice exercises regularly;
  • No Smoking;
  • Do not abuse alcoholic beverages;
  • Controlling stress;
  • Control cholesterol and weight;
  • Control blood pressure and blood glucose


In the case of patients with aneurysm detected with less than 5 centimeters, but without symptoms, the treatment begins with an annual ultrasound, which allows them to continue their growth. It may also be necessary to use medications such as statins and acetylsalicyls for strict pressure control, in addition to the healthy habits recommended above.

For cases of aneurysms of more than 5 centimeters, with or without pain, patients with pain or cases of growth of aneurysms of more than 1 centimeter in less than a year, correction through endovascular surgery is necessary. In this, a prosthesis is placed inside the aneurysm.

Can kill?

Although it is estimated that between 2% and 5% of men over 60 have some dilation in the asymptomatic aorta, that is, they spend years with it without knowing it, there are cases in which this dilation is greater than 6 cm, which increases the risk of artery rupture by 10% in 1 year. In these cases, the risk of death is 90%, even if the patient is rushed to the hospital.

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