This usually happens in the abdominal aorta, which is the vessel that leads away from the heart and down through the abdomen to the rest of the body. This is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).
If the aneurysm grows large enough there is a danger that it may burst (rupture). This can be life threatening, so we perform surgery to prevent this from happening.
Who can have an aneurysm?
Aneurysms can affect people of any age and both sexes. However, they are most common in men, people with high blood pressure (hypertension) and those over the age of 65.
In most cases, the exact reason why an aneurysm forms in the aorta is not clear. However, the wall of the aorta normally has layers of supporting tissues, and as people age, they may lose some of this tissue. This is thought to explain why aneurysms are more common in older people.
Most individuals with a AAA have no symptoms and the discovery may be an incidental finding from a clinical examination or on a scan.
At the Northern Vascular Centre, we offer all available treatment options for AAAs. This includes medical treatment of small AAAs, endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) where a stent is used to reline the aneurysm, open surgical repair where the AAA is replaced with a manmade graft and complex / custom made EVAR stent repair.
For more information, go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm/