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What Is a Heart Aneurysm

A heart aneurysm is also known as an aortic aneurysm. Aortic aneurysms can be present for years without the individual being aware of the problem. An aneurysm of the heart results from a bulge in the aorta wall, similar in appearance to a balloon. The aorta goes from the heart, through the chest and into the abdominal cavity; it is the primary artery responsible for carrying blood from the heart. When artery walls are healthy, they are muscular and thick, but when the wall has a weak spot, pressure forces the wall of the artery to bulge out.

Possible Causes of an Aneurysm

What Is a Heart AneurysmThere are a variety of reasons why someone may develop a heart aneurysm including:

·         Hypertension (high blood pressure)

·         Aging

·         Syphilis (this used to be a common cause of a thoracic aneurysm, but has recently been more prevalent in aortic aneurysms)

·         Injury to the artery

·         Atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)

·         Congenital abnormality (including conditions such as Marfan syndrome which is present at birth)

Symptoms of an Aneurysm

It is important to note that in the majority of individuals with an aortic aneurysm, there are typically no specific symptoms and it is typically only incidentally discovered during an exam. Aortic aneurysm may not show any symptoms, however, in a few case signs or symptoms of a heart aneurysm may include:

·         An extreme pain in the abdomen, chest and/or middle of the back

·         A ruptured aneurysm can lead to stroke, loss of consciousness, shock or heart attack

·         A pulsating feeling may occur when the aneurysm is in the abdominal section of the artery

A heart aneurysm can be detected with an MRI, X-ray, CT scan or an echocardiography. An aneurysm is a serious health concern because when they go unnoticed, it can lead to plaque formation which will further weaken the artery walls. The further weakening may lead to blood clots which in turn may lead to a stroke, heart attack or death. It is important to have regular check-ups and to report any family history of aneurysms to the physician.



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