Heart Center

Aneurysmal Heart Disease

An aneurysm (AN-u-rism) is a balloon-like bulge in an artery. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to your body.

Arteries have thick walls to withstand normal blood pressure. However, certain medical problems, genetic conditions, and trauma can damage or injure artery walls. The force of blood pushing against the weakened or injured walls can cause an aneurysm.

An aneurysm can grow large and rupture (burst) or dissect. A rupture causes dangerous bleeding inside the body. A dissection is a split in one or more layers of the artery wall. The split causes bleeding into and along the layers of the artery wall

Doctors often can successfully treat aortic aneurysms with medicines or surgery if they’re found in time. Medicines may be given to lower blood pressure, relax blood vessels, and reduce the risk of rupture.

Large aortic aneurysms often can be repaired with surgery. During surgery, the weak or damaged portion of the aorta is replaced or reinforced.