Symptoms will depend upon the location of the aneurysm. Common sites include the abdominal aortic artery, the intracranial muscles (supplying blood to the brain), and the aorta (supplying blood to the chest area).
Many aneurysms are present without symptoms and are discovered by feeling or on x-ray films during a routine examination.
When symptoms occur, they include a pulsing sensation, and there may be pain if the aneurysm is pressing on internal organs. If the aneurysm is in the chest area, for example, there may be pain in the upper back, difficulty in swallowing, coughing or hoarseness.
A ruptured aneurysm usually produces sudden and severe pain, and depending on the location and amount of bleeding, shock, loss of consciousness and death. Emergency surgery is necessary to stop the bleeding.
In some cases, the aneurysm may leak blood, causing pain without the rapid deterioration characteristic of a rupture. Also, clots often form in the aneurysm, creating danger of embolisms in distant organs.
In some cases, the aneurysm may dissect into the wall of an artery, blocking some of the branches. Dissecting aneurysms usually occur in the aortic arch (near its origin, as it leaves the heart) or start in the descending thoracic portion of the aorta after it gives off the branches to the head and arms. Symptoms vary according to the part of the body that is being deprived of blood; they are usually sudden, severe and require emergency treatment.
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