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Aortic Aneurysms

An aneurysm is a widened and weakened part of a blood vessel. An aortic aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of the main blood vessel (aorta) that carries blood from your heart to your body.

Baystate Health’s cardiovascular specialists have extensive experience treating aneurysms, and offer the latest in less invasive treatment options.

There are two types of aortic aneurysms:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) occur in the part of the aorta that passes through your abdomen. If an AAA continues to grow without being treated, it may cause bleeding inside your body and possibly death.
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) occur in the part of the aorta that passes through your chest. TAAs are less common than abdominal aneurysms and are typically treated surgically by cardiac surgeons.

Risk Factors

You are at greater risk for developing an aortic aneurysm if you have plaque buildup in your arteries, if you smoke, and if you have high blood pressure. Aneurysms are more common in men and adults older than 65.

Diagnosis

The doctors, specialists, and nurses in Baystate Health’s Heart and Vascular Department are experts in quickly and accurately detecting aortic aneurysms. Depending on your symptoms and your health history, we use a variety of tests, including:

Treatment

Once an aneurysm reaches a certain size, your doctor may recommend surgery. In emergency cases, aneurysms can rupture and become life-threatening.

Aneurysms can be removed and replaced with artificial grafts. We can also use your own veins to go around the widened or weakened area. Aneurysm repairs can be done in an open-heart surgery. You may be a candidate for an endovascular stent graft. This is a minimally invasive procedure that can help you:

  • Spend fewer days in the hospital
  • Recover more quickly
  • Experience less pain

No matter what your situation, you can rely on the experience and compassion of Baystate Health’s cardiovascular specialists.