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Aneurysm An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge or “ballooning” in the wall of an artery. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to other parts of the body. An aneurysm that grows and becomes large enough can burst, causing dangerous, often fatal, bleeding inside the body.
Most aneurysms occur in the aorta. An aneurysm that occurs in the aorta in the chest is called a thoracic aortic aneurysm. An aneurysm that occurs in the aorta in the abdomen is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. www.nhlbi.nih.gov In a common type of TAA, the walls of the aorta become weak and a section nearest to the heart enlarges. Then the valve between the heart and the aorta cannot close properly and blood leaks backward into the heart. An AAA can grow very large without producing symptoms. About 1 in 5 AAAs rupture. LifeART Collection Images Copyright © 1989-2001 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD