Aortic Aneurysm. Essay

1037 words - 4 pages

An aortic aneurysm is the dilation, bulging, or ballooning from the wall of the aorta, which is the artery through which blood flows out of the heart to the body. Aneurysms can develop wherever atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, occurs (Dawson, Haubrich, Weitzman, Procedures, Medtronic). An aneurysm can also stem from use of tobacco, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and emphysema, which is an abnormal distention of body tissues caused by retention of air (Haubrich, Weitzman). Not only the aorta, but also any other large blood vessel in the body may produce aneurysms.As stated before, an aortic aneurysm is the dilation, bulging, or ballooning out of part of the wall of the aorta. The blood vessel may be classified as an aneurysm when the pressure of blood flow within the aorta leads up to the aneurysm's expanding and rupturing. Ruptures are excruciating occurrences that cause massive internal bleeding. A patient must be treated within minutes in order to have a chance of survival, and about 20 percent of people with ruptured aortic aneurysms survive (Weitzman). Of the two types of aortic aneurysms, abdominal aortic and thoracic aortic, abdominal aortic aneurysms occur more frequently. The two forms of aortic aneurysms are fusiform and saccular. Fusiform is the form that expands evenly all around the aorta. Saccular is the form of aneurysm that expands on only one part of the aortic wall. Aneurysms can also be classified as to where they are found (Dawson, Haubrich, Medtronic).The thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs some place along the thoracic aorta. The thoracic aorta runs down the length of the chest cavity to the diaphragm, where the abdominal section begins, and consists of the ascending aortic arch to the descending thoracic aorta. Aneurysms in this region can start to form from atherosclerosis or medial degeneration. Medial degeneration is deterioration of elastic fibers in the wall of the artery. Less common causes of thoracic aneurysms are advanced syphilis, aortic infections, or aortic dissection (Dawson, Weitzman).The abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs some place along the abdominal aorta. The abdominal aorta, running the full length of the abdomen, continues from where the thoracic aorta left off and splits into two smaller iliac arteries, which provide blood to the pelvis and lower limbs. In addition to atherosclerosis, genetic factors play a role in the development of abdominal aortic aneurysms. More than one fourth of patients diagnosed with this type of aneurysm have relatives with the same condition (Dawson, Weitzman).Aortic aneurysms produce no symptoms, but younger people with abdominal aortic aneurysms may notice abdominal or lower back pain. This area may also be sensitive to touch. With thoracic aortic aneurysms, symptoms may include back or neck pain, coughing due to pressure placed on the trachea, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and/or swelling in the neck or arms. When an aortic aneurysm suddenly...

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