An aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of an artery. Aneurysms most often occur in the aorta, the large artery that distributes blood
to all of the body's vital organs except for the lungs
. One of the most common locations along the aorta for an aneurysm to develop is within the abdomen. So-called abdominal aortic aneurysms are often caused by arteriosclerosis, a condition that affects the elasticity and thickness of the aortic wall. People with high blood pressure
are prone to arteriosclerosis and should therefore be aware of their increased risk of developing an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Cigarette smoking, trauma, syphilis and connective-tissue disorders can all contribute to the development of an aneurysm.
The primary danger associated with all aneurysms, including the abdominal aortic, is the chance that the aneurysm may burst. If an aneurysm bursts, the victim is in grave danger from the subsequent internal bleeding
and associated kidney failure
. In order to prevent such bursting, surgical procedures are often undertaken in an attempt to repair the aneurysm before it can do any serious harm. Such surgical procedures, including the use of synthetic grafts
to repair the aneurysm, can be risky.
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