The signs and symptoms of an aortic aneurysm depend on the type of aneurysm, its location, and whether it has ruptured or is affecting other parts of the body.
Aneurysms can develop and grow for years without causing any signs or symptoms. They often don't cause signs or symptoms until they rupture, grow large enough to press on nearby parts of the body, or block blood flow.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
Most abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) develop slowly over years. They often don't have signs or symptoms unless they rupture. If you have an AAA, your doctor may feel a throbbing mass while checking your abdomen.
When symptoms are present, they can include:
If an AAA ruptures, symptoms can include sudden, severe pain in your lower abdomen and back; nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and vomiting; clammy, sweaty skin; lightheadedness; and a rapid heart rate when standing up.
Internal bleeding from a ruptured AAA can send you into shock. This is a life-threatening situation that requires emergency treatment.
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms
A thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) may not cause symptoms until it dissects or grows large. Then, symptoms may include:
A dissection is a split in one or more layers of the artery wall. The split causes bleeding into and along the layers of the artery wall.
If a TAA ruptures or dissects, you may feel sudden, severe pain starting in your upper back and moving down into your abdomen. You may have pain in your chest and arms, and you can quickly go into shock. Shock is a life-threatening condition in which the body's organs don't get enough blood flow.
If you have any symptoms of TAA or aortic dissection, call 9-1-1. If left untreated, these conditions may lead to organ damage or death.
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