- An aneurysm is an enlarged portion of a weak area of an artery. Over time, blood flow can cause the weak area to bulge like a balloon.
- An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is an enlargement in the aorta, the main blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.
- Abdominal aortic aneurysms can burst or rupture, causing serious internal bleeding and, if not treated, death.
- The risk for complications increases with the size of the aneurysm. In general, larger abdominal aortic aneurysms should be considered for treatment while smaller aneurysms should be monitored carefully for any enlargement.
Larger aneurysms, more than two inches in diameter, are more likely to burst, resulting in internal bleeding that is fatal unless treated immediately. Only about half of patients with a ruptured AAA who get to a hospital survive.