Q:

Can small aortic aneurysms be left untreated?

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Quick Answer

Small aortic aneurysms, or bulges in an artery wall, can be left untreated until they increase in size or begin to produce symptoms, according to WebMD. Any aortic aneurysm must be closely monitored by doctors, however, since large aortic aneurysms are very dangerous.

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Full Answer

Small aneurysms usually do not pose a threat, claims WebMD. However, an aneurysm increases the risk of weakening and hardening the artery at the site of the aneurysm. Aneurysms also increase the risk of blood clot formation, which is dangerous because the clot can break free and block blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke. A growing aneurysm can press on other organs and cause pain. An aneurysm can also rupture, which is life-threatening and a catastrophic event when it occurs in the aorta.

Normally, the walls of the aorta are thick and muscular, but an aneurysm is a weakened area that bulges from the internal pressure, says WebMD. The aorta is the most common site for aneurysms, but they can occur in any blood vessel. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body, and is the artery that receives blood directly from the heart to distribute to the rest of the body. The aorta extends from the chest down into the abdomen, and aneurysms can form in either region.

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