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What causes an aortic aneurysm?

The exact cause of an aortic aneurysm is often difficult to determine, but many factors potentially can contribute to the development of an aortic aneurysm. Some of the most common conditions associated with aneurysm formation are:
  • congenital or genetic causes for weakness of the artery wall (present from birth)
  • changes in the aorta due to advanced age
  • connective tissue disorders such as Marfan or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • inflammation of the aorta
  • hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) where fat, cholesterol, and other substances (plaque) clog the arteries
  • injury from falls or motor vehicle accidents
  • untreated infection such as syphilis or salmonella
In some cases, aneurysms run in families and are classified as “familial," so several members of extended families may be affected by aneurysms in different locations.

This content originally appeared online in "The Patient Guide to Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery" from the Society of Thoracic Surgery.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.