What Is a Local Widening of an Artery?

The widening of an artery caused by weakness in the blood vessel is called an aneurysm, according to Encylopaedia Britannica. The constant pressure from blood flow in the arteries causes the weakened portion of the blood vessel to widen, leading to serious complications.

Aneurysms are commonly found in the aorta, brain and peripheral arteries, according to Mayo Clinic. An aortic aneurysm forms in the body's largest artery, the aorta, which carries blood from the heart to the major organs. Brain aneurysms occur in blood vessels that bring blood to the brain. The widened area of the vessel creates a sac that fills with blood. This blood-filled sac can rupture leading to bleeding in the brain. Peripheral aneurysms form in other blood vessels in the body located in areas such as the legs, groin or neck.

The symptoms of an aneurysm vary with its location. For example, a person with an aortic aneurysm may not experience any symptoms until the aneurysm grows larger than 2 inches, notes Encylopaedia Britannica. This aneurysm can cause coughing, chest pain or difficulty breathing. The diagnosis of an aneurysm is made through physical examination by a health care professional and an X-ray or other imaging scan. Treatment includes surgical removal of the diseased vessel and replacement with an artificial stent or graft.