Symptoms of a ruptured aorta include pain in the back or abdomen, pale and cold skin, dizziness and a rapid heart rate, according to MedlinePlus. Shock or loss of consciousness can follow. Anyone displaying such symptoms must seek medical attention urgently, as the condition is life-threatening.
Rupture of the aorta is a possible complication of aortic aneurysm, which is when one part of the aorta begins to gradually expand like a balloon over a number of years. Aortic aneurysm may have no symptoms, or only vague symptoms similar to those of several other medical conditions, such as pain in the chest or back, difficulty swallowing and shortness of breath, according to WebMd.
If an aortic aneurysm is discovered and treated before it ruptures, MedlinePlus describes the prognosis as good. Ultrasound and computed tomography scan is typically used to diagnose a suspected aortic aneurysm. The treatment for a large aneurysm that may be in risk of rupture is reconstructive surgery to replace the damaged part of the blood vessel with an artificial implant. If the aneurysm is small, the doctor may caution against surgery and instead opt to only monitor how the condition develops.
Smoking and high blood pressure as known risk factors for aortic aneurysm, although the exact causes are not known. Men over 60 are most at risk, states MedlinePlus.