An enlarged aorta, or aortic aneurysm, is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of a blood vessel resulting in an abnormal widening or ballooning greater than 50 percent of the normal diameter (width). It may occur in any part of the aorta.
Because an aortic aneurysm may continue to increase in size, along with progressive weakening of the artery wall, surgical intervention may be needed. Preventing rupture of an aneurysm is one of the goals of therapy. The larger an aneurysm becomes, the greater the risk of rupture (bursting). With rupture, life-threatening hemorrhage (uncontrolled bleeding) may result.