Why Is Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Dangerous?

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are one of the silent killers in vascular surgery, because when they develop people typically don’t know they have them.

This aneurysm is located in the abdomen, and people don’t know they have them. Most abdominal aortic aneurysms are diagnosed incidentally. People go in for something that is completely unrelated. They get an X-ray or an ultrasound or CAT scan, and they say, “Oh, by the way, you have an aneurysm.” Unfortunately, for people who know they have them, sometimes it’s too late because typically people will only become symptomatic when it actively grows and/or ruptures, and that’s what we hope to avoid. A ruptured aneurysm typically can be a fatal event. Typical aneurysms develop over years, and that aneurysm will grow over time. They typically grow at small increments, but that’s what’s so important about screening and about catching these things early.