Encyclopedia Home / A / Abdominal aortic aneurysm

Abdominal aortic aneurysm

  • Alternative Names

    Aneurysm - aortic; AAA


    Symptoms

    Aneurysms develop slowly over many years and often have no symptoms. If an aneurysm expands rapidly, tears open (ruptured aneurysm), or blood leaks along the wall of the vessel (aortic dissection), symptoms may develop suddenly.

    The symptoms of rupture include:

    • Pain in the abdomen or back -- severe, sudden, persistent, or constant. The pain may radiate to the groin, buttocks, or legs.
    • Clammy skin
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Rapid heart rate
    • Shock

    Signs and tests

    Your doctor will examine your abdomen. The exam also will include an evaluation of pulses and sensation in your legs. The doctor may find:

    • Abdominal mass
    • Stiff or rigid abdomen
    • Pulsating sensation in the abdomen

    You may have an abdominal aortic aneurysm that is not causing any symptoms or problems. Your doctor may have found out about this problem from special tests called ultrasound of the abdomen or CT scan of the abdomen.

    Either of these tests may be done when you're having symptoms.