When to See a Physician
See your doctor ASAP if you have:
- A pulsating mass in your abdomen
- Abrupt weakness in the lower extremities on one side of the body
- Chest pain you have not felt before
- A cold foot or a black or blue painful toe for no apparent reason
Medical Exams and Tests
Aortic aneurysms are frequently exposed in an X-ray, ultrasound, or echocardiogram performed for other reasons.
Once in a while, an abdominal aneurysm is felt during a regular physical exam. If your doctor suspects and aneurysm, he will have you undergo further tests and exams to confirm his suspicion because it is important to:
- Locate the aneurysm
- Determine its size
- Learn how fast it is growing
- Determine if other blood vessels are involved
- Examine if there are blood clots or inflammation
Exams and tests to help determine the location, size, and growth rate of an aneurysm include:
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Computed tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)
An essential objective of these tests is to calculate the risk of a possible aneurysm rupture, and to compare the risk of rupture to the risks of surgery. For example, and abdominal ultrasound can closely monitor any change in the size of the aneurysm and help evaluate the risk for rupture.
Aortic Aneurysm Treatment
Aortic aneurysms that are producing symptoms or enlarging fast are viewed as a significant risk for rupture. Repair is normally advised if either of these factors occur.
In men, repair is normally advisable for AAA that are 5.5 cm or larger in diameter, causing symptoms, or are rapidly growing. In women, repair is often advisable for smaller aneurysms.
Repair of thoracic aortic aneurysms is generally advisable once they hit 5.5 cm to 6.0 cm in diameter.
If EVAR is not done, you will need routine tests to see if the aneurysm is getting bigger.
Smaller aneurysms (less than 5.5 cm in diameter) that are considered low risk for rupture are normally treated with medicine used to treat high blood pressure, like a beta-blocker.