Aneurysms Diagnosed and Treated by Vascular Doctors in Baltimore
The Vascular Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, offers patients comprehensive care from a skilled group of vascular surgeons experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of circulatory system disorders including aneurysms.
An aneurysm is the widening or bulging of an artery due to a weakness in the wall of the blood vessels. The two most common aneurysms occur in the aorta, the body’s largest blood vessel. Aneurysms also can be found in the abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysm) and the chest (thoracic aortic aneurysm).
Aneurysms may also be found in other parts of the body, including the brain and the legs. The exact cause of aneurysms is unknown; however, people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol or those who smoke may have a higher risk of developing an aneurysm.
Symptoms of aneurysms may depend on their location. Aneurysms near the body’s surface may cause pain and swelling. Abdominal aortic aneurysms may cause abdominal, back or groin pain. Thoracic aortic aneurysms may cause hoarseness, swelling in the neck or swallowing problems.
Undetected aneurysms can rupture and be life-threatening, requiring emergency care right away. A ruptured aneurysm causes sudden and severe pain. You can also lose consciousness or go into shock depending on the amount of bleeding.
Physicians typically diagnose aneurysms through a physical examination. As an aneurysm grows, pressure builds and a physician may feel a tender or pulsating mass in an exam.
Who should be screened for potential Aneurysms?
Men and women over age 60 and those with a family history of aneurysms should be screened. Often, aneurysms are found during routine exams.
An abdominal duplex ultrasound screening can identify an abdominal aneurysm before a rupture allowing vascular surgeons to perform preventative treatment.
Other screening tools used for detecting aneurysms include:
Treatment and repair of aneurysms depends on the size and location. Doctors monitor small aneurysms and may ask you to return every 6 to 12 months for additional screening. Larger aneurysms usually require surgery. Surgical options are:
- An open surgical repair and grafting to replace the damaged blood vessel.
- An endovascular minimally invasive procedure using stent-graft tubes to reinforce the damaged part of the artery.