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The vascular disease team at UM Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

About Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

The aorta is your body’s main artery, carrying blood from your heart to the rest of your body. A very serious condition, AAA happens in part of the aorta that runs through your stomach area, occurring when that area weakens and forms a balloon-like bulge.

When an aneurysm bursts, it causes internal bleeding and could be fatal.

AAA Risk Factors

  • Advanced age (age 60 or older)
  • Family history of abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • High blood pressure
  • AAA is more common in men than women
  • Smoking 

Know Your Risk: An abdominal aortic aneurysm is among the conditions that a vascular screening can detect. If you have risk factors, consider getting a vascular screening. If you're not sure of your risk, take our vascular health risk assessment to learn more.  

AAA Symptoms

AAA typically doesn’t cause any symptoms. Patients may not notice any symptoms until the condition becomes a medical emergency. Noticeable symptoms can include:

  • Clammy skin
  • Fast heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the buttocks, groin or legs
  • Throbbing or deep pain in the back or side

AAA Diagnosis and Treatment

As you may not notice AAA symptoms, it is important to get a vascular screening, especially if you meet any of the risk factors. Most cases of AAA are diagnosed through simple, painless diagnostic tests such as an ultrasound scan or a CT scan.

Treatment depends on the size of the aneurysm, which is the main indicator of the risk of rupture. If the aneurysm is small and there are no symptoms, you may not need treatment right away; your provider may just decide to regularly monitor the size of the aneurysm. Usually, surgery is performed if the aneurysm is larger than 2 inches (5 centimeters) or growing quickly. Although the goal is to perform surgery before complications develop, some cases (rupture or dissection of an aneurysm) call for emergency surgery.

Vascular surgeons at UM BWMC are skilled in advanced, minimally invasive endovascular techniques for aneurysm repair that are associated with low complication rates and little post-procedure pain compared with open surgical repairs.

Contact Us

For more information or to make an appointment with the Vascular Center at UM BWMC, call 410-553-8300.

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