Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAA)

Dr. Patrick Neville explains what an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is and the risk factors for getting an AAA.

What is an aorta?

The heart is located in the center of the chest, and the biggest blood vessel in the body is the aorta. The aorta essentially provides the main highway to all other blood vessels going to the head, arms, all the organs in our abdomen (kidney, spleen, liver, bowel), and legs.

What puts you at risk for an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

Over time, high cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure, and family history creates blockages in arteries which causes heart problems and strokes and can also lead to weakening in the wall of arteries which develops into an aneurysm. 

What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

An aneurysm is a ballooning of the artery where the artery actually grows. One of the most common places that happens is in the aorta, specifically in the infrarenal abdominal aorta. An infrarenal abdominal aorta just means that it’s in the abdomen, below the level of the kidney arteries. Abdominal aortic aneurysms are one of the silent killers addressed especially in vascular surgery because when it develops people typically don’t know they have them.