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Lakes DHB General Surgery

Public Service, General Surgery, Gastroenterology & Hepatology (Liver), Vascular Surgery

Aortic Aneurysm

This is the dilatation or ballooning of a section of the aorta which is the main artery coming out of the heart. An aneurysm usually occurs because of an underlying weakness in the wall of the aorta at that point.
Very often you will not have any symptoms from the aneurysm and it may only be discovered through a chest x-ray or CT scan.  Most aneurysms found do not require surgery at the time of finding or in the future.  However they should be monitored by scans to see if they are enlarging.
 
If you have an aneurysm it is important that you do not smoke and your blood pressure should be monitored by your GP.  If you have high blood pressure this needs to be well controlled.
 
If one of your close family members (mother, father, or brother or sister) has been diagnosed with an aneurysm then you should discuss with your GP whether you should have a scan.  This will depend on a number of factors that your GP can go over with you.
 
Surgery may be offered depending on the size of the aneurysm or the rate of change in the size as seen on a scan.  The pros and cons of surgery will be discussed with you by the vascular surgeon.
 
If the aneurysm begins to get larger or leak, you may experience chest or back pain.  If you have a known aneurysm and you experience these symptoms, you should seek urgent medical advice. 

This page was last updated at 9:21AM on June 16, 2021.