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An aneurysm is a dilation or ballooning of an artery due to either disease or a weakness in the wall of the artery.

If an aneurysm is located near the body's surface, then pain is felt and swelling will occur.
However, aneurysms located within the body or in the brain have no symptoms at all.


It is not clear exactly what causes aneurysms. Some aneurysms are present at birth. Defects in some of the parts of the artery wall may be responsible.
Aneurysms can be found in several parts of the body:
  • The major artery from the heart (the aorta)
  • The brain (cerebral aneurysm)
    • Brain aneurysms develop as a result of thinning and degeneration artery walls. Aneurysms often form at forks or branches in arteries because those sections of the vessel are weaker.
  • In the leg behind the knee popliteal artery aneurysm)
  • Intestine (mesenteric artery aneurysm)
    • abdominal aortic aneurysm is a weakened and bulging area in the lower part of the aorta, the major blood vessel that supplies blood to the body. Because the aorta is the body's main supplier of blood, a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding.
  • An artery in the spleen (Splenic artery aneurysm)

High blood pressure and high cholesterol may raise your risk of certain types of aneurysms. High blood pressure is thought to play a role in abdominal aortic aneurysms. Atherosclerotic disease (cholesterol buildup in arteries) may also lead to the formation of some aneurysms.
Pregnancy is often linked to the formation and rupture of splenic artery aneurysms.

Ruptures are the main danger to watch out for. If an aneurysm ruptures, it effects are often quite severe and the risk of death is quite high. A rupture in the brain can cause a stroke, disability, and often a sudden death. Popliteal arterial aneurysms can create blood clots that travel down to ones leg and suffocate the tissue. If this is not dealt with, amputation may be necessary.
A clot could also travel to the heart causing death as well.


Most patients are generally recommended to do surgery. Depending on the symptoms of the patient different type of surgeries would have to administered. In cases, where much damage is not severe endovasuclar stent repair is done. In this surgery a tiny tube, a stent is used to prop open a vessel or reinforce it's wall. This can be done without a major cut, allowing the recovery to be much faster.

Depending on the location of the aneurysm it determines the major complications for example:

  • May cause compression of nearby structure such as nerves, which can lead to weakness and numbness (most commonly occurs in the artery behind the knee).
  • Infection, can lead to body-wide illness and rupture
  • Rupture, which can cause massive bleeding that may lead to death
  • Rupture of brain aneurysms can cause stroke, disability, and in worse cases even death


In order to prevent some aneurysms one should follow these suggestions. Having control of high blood pressure, healthy diet, regular exercise, and keeping your cholesterol at a health level can help prevent aneurysms and future complications that are associated.

Web Resources:

Related Terminology:
Cerebral Aneurysm
Aortic Aneurysm


external image aneurysm_diagram3.jpgThis picture demonstrates the blockage of the artery in the brain.
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