Definition of Aneurysm
An aneurysm is an abnormal widening or ballooning of a portion of an artery due to weakness in the wall of the blood vessel.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
It is not clear exactly what causes aneurysms. Some aneurysms are present at birth (congenital). Defects in some of the parts of the artery wall may be responsible.
The symptoms depend on the location of the aneurysm. If the aneurysm occurs near the body’s surface, pain and swelling with a throbbing mass is often seen.
Signs and tests
The health care provider will perform a physical exam.
Surgery is generally recommended. The type of surgery and when you need it depends on your symptoms and the size and type of aneurysm.
With successful surgical repair, the outlook is often excellent.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/13/2010