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Symptoms of an aneurysm

It is normal to feel a throb at the site where you take a pulse to check your heart rate. As the heart forces blood through your body, you can feel a throbbing in the arteries wherever they come close to the skin surface, such as the wrist, neck, or upper arm.

An aneurysm is a bulging section in the wall of a blood vessel and causes a throbbing pulse where the blood vessels has become stretched out and thin. This area of the blood vessel bulges out, is weak, and may cause bleeding when it bursts or ruptures. Aneurysms most often affect the large artery in the chest and abdomen (aorta) and arteries that supply the brain, heart, and legs.

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Although it is not unusual to have an aneurysm without other symptoms, common symptoms include:

  • Back pain or abdominal pain.
  • A pulsating lump in the abdomen.
  • A pulsating lump behind the knee or in the groin. The leg may turn pale and become swollen and blue.
  • Headache.Strokemay occur if an aneurysm in the brain bursts (ruptures).

Prompt evaluation and treatment can prevent an aneurysm from bursting. Death from loss of blood can occur quickly if an aneurysm bursts.

Author Jan Nissl, RN, BS
Editor Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA
Associate Editor Tracy Landauer
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology
Last Updated May 6, 2009

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 06, 2009
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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