The aorta is the largest artery in the body, with a normal diameter ranging from 2.0 to 2.5 centimetres. When an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) develops the diameter can increase significantly. Increasing diameter of the aorta results in stretching of the vessel wall, this may result in rupture of the aneurysm. Aneurysm rupture carries a very high mortality.

Unfortunately, most people who have an AAA have no symptoms at all. Sometimes patients may feel the aneurysm as a pulsating or throbbing mass in their abdomen. Some may experience pain in their abdomen or back due to the stretching aneurysm but most of the time people are unaware of the fact that they have an AAA.

Risk factors for AAA

  • Male gender
  • Age >60
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • High Blood pressure
  • Ischaemic heart disease