Every year, more than 180,000 people in the United States alone are diagnosed with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) disease – often defined as an enlargement or dilation of the aorta by greater than 50% of its normal diameter.
The causes of AAA disease are not always known but risk factors include those associated with other types of vascular disease such as high blood pressure and smoking.
For most patients, the disease is not symptomatic, so the aneurysm can grow undetected. If it grows large enough, it may rupture. A rupture of the aorta can lead to significant blood loss and death. The mortality rate for a ruptured aneurysm may be as high as 85%. Therefore, when a large aneurysm is detected, a surgical or endovascular repair procedure is usually the recommended course of action. Smaller or stable aneurysms are usually only required to be monitored over time.