An aneurysm occurs when part of an artery wall weakens, allowing it to balloon out or widen abnormally. The causes of aneurysms are sometimes unknown. Some may be congenital, meaning a person is born with them. Aortic disease or an injury may also cause an aneurysm.
Aneurysms can develop slowly over many years and often have no symptoms. An aneurysm occurring near the surface of the skin may be painful and include swelling with a visible throbbing mass.
If an aneurysm expands quickly or ruptures, symptoms may develop suddenly and include:
A ruptured aneurysm is a medical emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number and seek immediate medical attention.
If you’ve been diagnosed with an unruptured aneurysm, work closely with your doctor to monitor any changes to the aneurysm. Your condition may require regular checkups depending on the aneurysm’s size and location.
Some aneurysms may require surgery to reinforce the artery wall with a stent. In cases where the aneurysm has ballooned out the side of the blood vessel, a coiling procedure may be done to close off the area.