Aneurysm: A Medical Emergency
An aneurysm occurs when the walls of an artery become weak and bulge outward. most aneurysms are found during an exam for another, unrelated problem. In their early stages, most do not cause symptoms. As an aneurysm progresses, symptoms may appear, but may be mistaken for other health problems.
Aneurysms can grow larger over time, so it is important to monitor them carefully. The greatest risk is that the aneurysm will rupture (burst) or dissect (split). These are true medical emergencies. Call 9-1-1 immediately!
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)
Symptoms: Pain in the abdomen or back - severe, sudden, persistent or constant. The pain may radiate to the groin, buttocks or legs. Clammy skin, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, shock.
Cerebral (brain) Aneurysm
Symptoms: An undiagnosed aneurysm can cause problems by pressing on areas in the brain. Severe headaches, blurred vision, changes in speech or neck pain may result. Symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm often come on quickly: a sudden severe headache that is different from past headaches; neck pain; nausea and vomiting; sensitivity to light; fainting or loss of consciousness; seizures.
Thoracic (chest) Aortic Aneurysm
Symptoms: Vary based on location. May include shortness of breath, heart failure, dull pain, underneath the breastbone or radiating to the upper back, upper chest. Back pain, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness.