What is it?
The aneurysm (or aneurism) is a localized dilation of an artery in the body. He looks like a pocket or a bag of small (a few millimeters to several centimeters), which communicates with the normal artery through a narrowed area.
The most common sites of aneurysms are the aorta (especially in its passage to the abdomen) and arteries of the skull or brain arteries.
More rarely an aneurysm is localized at one of the arteries of the heart (coronary arteries).
The abdominal aortic aneurysm is found mostly in men around sixty years.
What are the causes?
The formation of an aneurysm is linked to three factors, more or less decisive, as the site of the aneurysm:
- A localized thinning the wall of the artery - The formation of an atherosclerotic plaque (cholesterol plaques that clog the opening of the artery) - High blood pressure, high blood pressure surges resulting in expansion of the aneurysm.
Sometimes the aneurysm is accidental (weakened section of artery after a major injury) or scar (a complication of myocardial infarction or heart).
In most cases the abdominal aortic aneurysm is related to atherosclerosis.
The aneurysm of a coronary artery is the result of a myocardial infarction.
A cerebral aneurysm is primarily related to a birth defect, that is to say, a localized defect, present from birth.
How do they occur?
In most situations, you live with an aneurysm (especially brain) without knowing it because the aneurysm does not involve any particular sign, no discomfort.
Unfortunately, this is when the aneurysm ruptures it turns out.
Level of the abdominal aorta, it causes massive internal bleeding (not shown). The brain is the subarachnoid hemorrhage or stroke (stroke). At heart, this causes a "heart failure" (the heart can no longer fulfill its function of pump) or rhythm disturbances of the heart (it beats irregularly).
In all cases, an aneurysm is an absolute emergency that poses a risk of rapid death if certain medical measures are not implemented quickly.
Rarely before its rupture, the aneurysm causes such headaches (brain), pains in the abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysms) or abnormal heart rhythm (coronary aneurysm).
In other cases, the aneurysm was discovered by chance during an examination as a medical imaging or MRI scan of the abdomen or brain.
Sometimes a medical reason to suspect the presence of an aneurysm in the abdomen. For example, the physician palpated a mass beating and not painful in the abdomen.
How to recognize them?
Imaging tests are intended to identify an aneurysm. A radiograph of the abdomen or abdomen without preparation (ASP), an ultrasound or CT scan of the abdomen may show an abdominal aneurysm.
In the brain, ultrasound, Doppler, CT and MRI are useful to identify the aneurysm, assess its size, precise location and so on.
The aneurysm of a coronary artery requires a more aggressive as coronary angiography to be highlighted.
What are the treatments?
Treatments depend on the context of revelation of the aneurysm and its location.
In cases of suspected ruptured aneurysm, call 15. A transfer by ambulance to the nearest hospital with an ICU and a surgical unit is essential.
Ruptured aneurysm of the brain requires a supported in neurosurgery.
An aneurysm in the abdomen requires vascular surgery.
When an aneurysm is discovered before it broke, the treatment differs according to location. If the aneurysm is cerebral, what to do (operate or not operate) is not consensual. This neurosurgical intervention is not without risk.
However, the majority of abdominal aortic aneurysms should be monitored and operated preventively when their size exceeds 5 cm and the person's condition allows intervention.
In any case, it must be monitored and treated if necessary blood pressure and try to reduce all risk factors that promote atherosclerosis: stop smoking, fight against physical inactivity and overweight, reduce its fat content in the blood (cholesterol, triglycerides ...) etc ...
What might change?
Evolution is sometimes fatal, sometimes nothing happens.
Moreover, if the aneurysm is discovered in time, especially in the aorta, the change can be very positive with preventing any risk of rupture with surgical treatment.
What should you do?
If you know you are a carrier of an aneurysm, do you watch regularly by your doctor.
It may suggest treatments that are best for you, monitoring the growth of the aneurysm and possibly refer you to a specialist for surgery.
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