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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

Basics

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Definition

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes abnormally large or balloons outward.

Symptoms

Aneurysms develop slowly over many years and often have no symptoms. If an aneurysm expands rapidly, tears open (ruptured aneurysm), or blood leaks along the wall of the vessel (aortic dissection), symptoms may develop suddenly.

The symptoms of rupture include:

  • Pain in the abdomen or back -- severe, sudden, persistent, or constant. The pain may radiate to the groin, buttocks, or legs.
  • Clammy skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shock
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