What is an aneurysm?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

An aneurysm occurs when the force of blood flow pushes against a weakened artery wall and causes it to bulge. If left untreated, an aneurysm can rupture and cause internal bleeding. If the internal bleeding is severe enough, ruptures can be fatal. Aneurysms can occur in the aorta—the artery responsible for delivering blood from your heart to the rest of your body—the brain, and other places in your body.

A network of arteries and other blood vessels runs through your body, carrying blood from your heart to the rest of your body. An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel wall. The artery wall stretches outward as the pressure of the blood it carries pushes against a weak portion in the wall. If the artery wall is very thin, the aneurysm can rupture, causing internal bleeding. While aneurysms can occur in various places throughout the body, aneurysms in the brain artery, heart artery and abdominal aorta are common and can be life threatening particularly if they 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.