Facts about abdominal aortic aneurysms

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• In the past 30 years, the occurrence of abdominal aortic aneurysms has increased threefold.

• The goal of treating an AAA with either open surgery or endovascular surgery is to prevent rupture; 80 to 90 percent of all ruptured AAAs result in death.

• Approximately one in every 250 people older than 50 will die of a ruptured AAA.

• AAA affects as many as 8 percent of people over the age of 65.

• Men are four times more likely to have AAA than women.

• AAA is the 17th-leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 15,000 deaths each year.

• Those at highest risk for developing AAA are men over the age of 60 who have ever smoked, have a family history of AAA (particularly if the relative was female), and/or have a history of hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).

• Fifty percent of patients with abdominal aortic aneurysms who do not undergo treatment die of a rupture.

• Three out of four of those patients show no symptoms at the time they are diagnosed. When symptoms are present, they may include abdominal pain, pain in the lower back that may extend to the buttocks, groin or legs, and/or the feeling of a pulse in the abdomen.

• Symptoms of a burst AAA may include sudden severe back or abdominal pain, paleness, dry mouth/skin and excessive thirst, nausea and vomiting, signs of shock like shaking, dizziness, fainting, sweating, rapid heartbeat and sudden weakness.

Source: Society of Interventional Radiology

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