Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA) said: “a-OR-tik AN-yuh-rih-zum”

AAA is mainly caused by a weak area of the abdominal region of the aorta that fills up with blood and causes it to bulge (aneurysm). Over time, this area can further weaken and rupture (suddenly burst), leading to massive internal bleeding and, in some cases, sudden death.

The aorta is the largest blood vessel. It carries blood from the heart to vital organs throughout the body. AAA disease weakens the aorta until it bulges like a balloon. This bulge is called an aneurysm.

Are you at risk of AAA disease?

  • Your risk of AAA increases if you:
  • Are more than 60 yrs old
  • Are a smoker (or former smoker)
  • Have a family history of AAA
  • Have high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Have poor leg circulation
  • Have had heart bypass surgery (also known as coronary artery bypass graft, or CABG)

How will your doctor know if you have AAA disease?

Most AAA’s can be detected through and ultrasound screening. The screening test is quick and painless, involving a simple ultrasound of the abdomen, similar to a pregnancy ultrasound. The Vascular Clinic can perform these ultrasound screenings. Your insurance plan should cover this screening for AAA.

What are the warning signs?

Most people with AAA do not experience symptoms! That’s because the aneurysm grows slowly and can rupture without warning. People who do experience symptoms describe them as:

  • A pulsing feeling in the abdomen
  • Unexplained, severe pain in the lower back
  • Tenderness in the chest
  • Nausea
  • A feeling of bein constantly full in the stomach

How does Dr. Hannum treat patients with a AAA?

If detected before a rupture, the vast majority of AAA’s (95%) can be successfully treated. When an aneurysm is small, your doctor may simply monitor it with regular check-ups. He or she may prescribe medicine to control your symptoms such as high blood pressure, which if controlled will reduce pressure on the aneurysm. But, if the aneurysm is getting larger or growing quickly, Dr. Hannum might will more than likely perform surgical procedure to repair the aneurysm with the goal of preventing the aorta from bursting or affecting blood flow to other parts of the body.

A common graft Dr. Hannum may use to repair an AAA, may look similar to this:

If you or someone your love is at risk for AAA, talk to Dr. Hannum today! (407) 818-1111