Aneurysm, of any kind, can lead to life threatening health complications. For many headache sufferers, there is risk for developing aneurysm. For those who use tobacco, suffer from hypertension and have a family history, there is increased risk for developing abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a cardiovascular complication that usually does not pose any symptoms. Only upon x-ray, or other diagnostic study, is the aneurysm identified. Without prompt medical attention, the abdominal aortic aneurysm can result in death. In the United States, it is estimated that AAA is the 10th leading cause of death in which men, resulting in 15,000 deaths per year.
To diagnose an abdominal aortic aneurysm the standard screening is achieved through ultrasound. In fact, because ultrasound is quite accurate at diagnosing AAA, many men, over age 65 with a tobacco use history, will opt for ultrasound of the abdomen as part of the routine health examination.
When the abdominal aortic aneurysm becomes symptomatic, there is little time for repair and death is almost certain to occur. Symptoms of AAA include back pain, groin pain and abdominal pain and most patients can feel a mass swelling within the abdominal wall. Once an abdominal aortic aneurysm becomes symptomatic, there is little hope for successful repair.
When surgical repair is necessary, the surgeon will usually opt for one of two options; open surgery or endovascular repair. In patients who are asymptomatic, endovascular repair can be achieved. Following endovascular repair, the patient will require CT scan evaluations, every two months, for the year following surgery.
If the abdominal aortic aneurysm is symptomatic, the method for repair involves open surgery. Because the aneurysm is most likely ruptured in a symptomatic patient, open repair allow for full access to the affected cardiovascular system. In some cases, when endovascular repair is attempted, open surgery may ultimately be required.
As with any cardiovascular risk, it is important to provide your healthcare professional with the details regarding your family history. Because abdominal aortic aneurysms can be hereditary, with men who use tobacco and suffer from hypertension experiencing a greater risk, your health history is vital to screening. Even when symptoms of cardiovascular complications are not present, if you are at-risk for developing AAA your physician may want to conduct routine abdominal ultrasound screenings to ensure you are not suffering from an asymptomatic abdominal aortic aneurysm. When confirmed, surgery is immediately required with most patients attempting endovascular surgery as a viable option before open surgery.