An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a bulge (aneurysm) in a weak or damaged area of your aorta wall. AAAs occur in the abdominal section of your aorta down near your stomach.
Your aorta is your body’s largest artery, one of the vessels that move blood from your heart to the rest of your body. It runs from your heart all the way down to the bottom of your abdomen.
At Aurora Health Care, we are always on the lookout for patients who may develop AAAs because they can be silent killers. You may not have any symptoms of this condition until your aneurysm bursts. A burst aneurysm would cause you to bleed internally and requires emergency surgery.
Our medical team believes strongly in AAA screenings for high-risk patients.
If you are age 65 or older, have smoked and/or have other risk factors for AAAs, expect us to recommend an ultrasound or computerized tomography (CT) screening test.
We also have consistent procedures in place system-wide to identify people who may develop AAAs or who already have AAAs and need immediate care.
Fortunately, Medicare also covers a one-time, AAA ultrasound screening for qualified, new enrollees. Learn more about Medicare-covered screenings.
At Aurora, we diagnose and treat more people with AAAs than any other health system in Wisconsin. And we have a lot of experience treating even the most complex AAAs.
Our world-class vascular surgeons and related specialists offer:
AAAs can develop very slowly, so most people who develop AAAs have no symptoms. However, if an aneurysm gets large, you may feel:
AAAs can quickly become life threatening. If you have unexplained abdominal pain that doesn’t go away, contact your doctor immediately.
If the AAA gets worse and ruptures (tears open), you need immediate, emergency medical care. Signs of a rupture include:
Most people who develop AAAs never know they have them. However, your doctor could find the aneurysm during a routine exam or diagnostic test for another health issue.
It’s important to follow your medical team’s recommendations if they suggest you undergo a screening test for an AAA. Your doctor may recommend an AAA screening if you:
The most common tests we use to identify AAAs include:
Find out more about heart and vascular testing and diagnosis at Aurora.
We offer a variety of options for treating AAAs. They include: