The aorta, the largest artery in the body, originates from the heart and sends blood to other organs. It starts in the centre of the heart, travels up to the top of the chest, curves to the back so it is adjacent to the spine in the chest cavity, moves into the abdomen, and then splits to support the organs in the pelvic cavity and the two legs. This main pipe sends blood to important parts of the body like the heart, brain, spinal cord, arms, legs, and organs in the abdomen, including the liver, kidneys, and intestines. Any problems with the aorta can affect several parts of the body, and injury to the aorta can lead to death.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a bulging or ballooning of the blood-filled part of the aorta that runs through the abdomen. It often occurs when the wall of the aorta is harder than normal due to atherosclerosis, a build-up of plaque in the artery walls. Atherosclerosis can weaken the walls of an artery, leading to an aneurysm when it is mild or severe.

Causes of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

  • Deterioration or damage to the walls of the artery, commonly found in the elderly and those with high blood pressure
  • Bacterial or fungal infection of the arterial wall, such as in syphilis
  • Inflammation of the artery due to autoimmune disease
  • Smoking
  • Heredity, family history

Symptoms of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

  • A palpable mass in the abdomen that pulses
  • Persistent abdominal pain
  • Persistent back pain

Treatment for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Open abdominal surgery is the most common way to treat abdominal aortic aneurysm. During this procedure, which takes about 2-4 hours and is done under general anesthesia, an incision is made in the abdomen or side of the body to reach the aorta where the aneurysm is located. The affected section will be removed and replaced by a permanent synthetic graft to connect the ends of the aorta. This graft will last for a very long time.