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What can happen if I have an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)?

With an abdominal aortic aneurysm -- a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the aorta (the largest artery in the body) -- the aorta is under constant pressure as blood is ejected from the heart. With each heartbeat, the walls of the aorta distend (expand) and then recoil (spring back), exerting continual pressure or stress on the already weakened aneurysm wall. Therefore, there is a potential for rupture (bursting) or dissection (separation of the layers of the aortic wall) of the aorta, which may cause life-threatening hemorrhage (uncontrolled bleeding) and, potentially, death. The larger the aneurysm becomes, the greater the risk of rupture.

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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.