What are the symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)?

Everyone over the age of 65 should get an ultrasound of their abdomens to detect any abdominal aortic aneurysms, which sometimes don't present any symptoms at all. Learn more by watching this video with Mallik Piduru, MD from Oak Hill Hospital.
Joshua I. Greenberg, MD
Vascular Surgery
Some patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) have no symptoms at all and the condition is discovered as a secondary result from testing. In this video, Joshua Greenberg, MD, of Mercy Health, explains that symptoms may occur after a rupture.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.
Isaac George, MD
Thoracic Surgery (Cardiothoracic Vascular)
Symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) can include back, flank or abdominal pain, though oftentimes an AAA does not produce symptoms. 
Frank J. Arena, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Abdominal aortic aneurysms almost never have any symptoms. In some cases, patients have reported symptoms such as chest or jaw pain, which are similar to symptoms of a heart attack. Other signs could be sudden stabbing, radiating pain, fainting or difficulty breathing.
Barry T. Katzen, MD
Diagnostic Radiology
A rupture of the aortic artery may produce a throbbing feeling in the abdomen, a deep pain in the back or the side of your abdomen and a constant pain in your abdomen that is severe and cannot be relieved.
 
If an AAA ruptures, symptoms may include sudden, severe pain in the lower abdomen and back; nausea and vomiting; constipation and problems with urination; clammy, sweaty skin; light-headedness; and a rapid heart rate when standing up. A ruptured AAA can also send a person into shock so proceeding to an emergency room or hospital quickly is very important.
Intermountain Healthcare
Administration
Often, an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) doesn't cause any symptoms. In some cases, though, it can cause a pulsing sensation in the abdomen or pain in the abdomen, chest, or back. Even if it doesn't cause symptoms, an aortic aneurysm can be very dangerous, especially if it's large or it's growing. If it ruptures (bursts), it can cause bleeding. After an aorta ruptures, so much blood is lost that death can happen within minutes.
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Administration
In general, a patient suffering from an abdominal aneurysm may experience low back pain or pain in the center of the abdomen. Learn more from Johns Hopkins Medicine about an abdominal aneurysm.

 

If you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA):

  • You may have no symptoms at all.
  • You may feel pain in the middle or lower part of the left side of your abdomen. This pain may come and go or be felt all the time.
  • You may feel pain in your lower back.
  • You or healthcare provider may feel a mass or lump that beats (like a heartbeat) in your abdomen.

Continue Learning about Aneurysms

Aneurysms

Aneurysms form balloons in weakened arteries of our bodies, potentially causing life-threatening problems such as a stroke. Although aneurysms can form in any weakened artery, they commonly occur in the arteries of the brain and i...

n the aorta, the central artery that extends from your heart through the center of your abdomen and chest. Certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, can weaken the arteries, which deliver oxygenated blood from our heart to the rest of our bodies. The pressure of blood traveling through the arteries can lead to this balloon-like bulge. You can have an aneurysm for years without symptoms or problems. Others can have an aneurysm that pops, which can lead to a stroke if bleeding occurs in the brain. Ruptured aneurysms must be treated quickly, usually within minutes, or it can become deadly: about 50% of all ruptured aneurysms are fatal.
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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.