The aorta is the large artery that transports blood from the heart to the rest of the body. This artery is divided into sections: thoracic and abdominal. The abdominal aorta lies on the spinal column, travels through the stomach area, and branches into two arteries (the iliac arteries) at the level of the umbilicus (belly button).
Aneurysms occur in the abdominal aorta when the wall of the aorta weakens and swells like a balloon. Like a balloon, the aortic wall may burst, causing severe internal bleeding that is often fatal. Every year there are 15,000 preventable deaths related to AAA.
What puts you at risk for an AAA?
What are the signs and symptoms of an AAA?
How is an AAA diagnosed?
How is an AAA treated?
Treatment depends on the location of the aneurysm, size of the aneurysm and overall health of the person but may include: