Aneurysms contribute to roughly 25,000 deaths in the United States each year and are typically defined as a weakening or bulging of an artery wall to greater than 50% of the vessel’s normal diameter.[i] It is estimated that one to two percent of the population live with aneurysms, but only a small percentage of this group will experience a rupture.[ii] The three main types of aneurysms include abdominal aortic, thoracic aortic, and cerebral.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms, known as “triple A” or “AAA” are the most prevalent aortic aneurysms, occurring in the aorta’s abdominal section below the diaphragm when a patient’s blood pressure increases against the aorta’s wall. This increase in pressure can cause a rupture of the aorta and often presents itself as back, abdominal, chest, or jaw pain. In many instances the pain associated with an abdominal aortic aneurysm be mistaken as a heart attack. Having a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms is the most significant risk factor for this condition. Other risk factors include atherosclerosis, aorta infections, connective tissue disorders such as Marfan syndrome, and chronic high blood pressure.