Aortic Aneurysm

Overview

What Is an Aortic Aneurysm?

Weak or damaged tissue can lead to an aneurysm, which is the general term for a balloon-shaped bulge in an artery wall. Arteries are the vessels that transport blood from your heart to the rest of your body.

An aortic aneurysm is a type of aneurysm that forms in your aorta, your body’s largest artery. Your aorta is about a foot long and extends from your heart down through the center of your body.

Aortic aneurysms are the most common type of aneurysm, and also the most dangerous. Untreated aneurysms can cause your aorta to tear – posing a life-threatening medical emergency.

Types of Aortic Aneurysms

Causes of, symptoms of and treatment for aortic aneurysms vary by their type. Aortic aneurysms include:

World-Class Care

Aurora’s Specialized Aortic Aneurysm Care

Doctors throughout Wisconsin and Illinois refer patients to Aurora for aortic aneurysm treatment, for good reason:

  • Exceptional expertise: Our Center for Marfan and Aortic Disorders specializes in treating complicated aortic conditions, including aneurysms. The large number of people we see is one reason we are among the most experienced providers in the area.
  • Groundbreaking research and treatments: Our doctors regularly participate in the latest clinical trials. As a result, we often can offer aneurysm treatments and devices not otherwise available.
  • Pioneering technology: We have some of the best-equipped labs in the country. We are proud to be one of the first health systems in the world using 4-D ultrasound imaging systems to diagnose and treat heart and vascular disorders.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Thorough Evaluation & Treatment for Aortic Aneurysms

It’s critical to catch and treat aneurysms as quickly as possible. Aortic aneurysms are especially dangerous because they can cause your aorta (your body’s main artery) to rupture.

Diagnostic Tests

We can detect aortic aneurysms with one or more tests:

  • Angiography: An X-ray test of your blood vessels or organs using a special camera and dye
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG)
  • Radiographic testing:
    • Computerized tomography (CT) scan
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Ultrasound: An imaging method that uses sound waves to create pictures of your body’s organs

Learn more about heart and vascular testing and diagnosis at Aurora.

Aneurysm Treatment Options

You may not need treatment for small aneurysms that don’t have symptoms.

However, if your aneurysm is larger or causing symptoms, your doctor may recommend:

  • Medication: Certain prescriptions can lower your blood pressure, relax your blood vessels and reduce the risk of the aneurysm bursting.
  • Endovascular grafting: Endovascular grafting is a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting a fabric-wrapped metal tube (stent) to strengthen your artery. We offer customized stent-grafts to treat unusually shaped abdominal aortic aneurysms. Without these devices, people need to undergo open surgical repair.
  • Traditional aneurysm surgery: During traditional aneurysm surgery, your surgeon can reinforce or replace your weakened artery section with a synthetic graft.

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Our Center for Marfan and Aortic Disorders specializes in aortic conditions.

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