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Heart Disease Health Center

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Aortic Aneurysm - Topic Overview

How is an aortic aneurysm diagnosed? continued...

Experts recommend screening tests for abdominal aneurysms for men who are:

  • Ages 65 to 75 and have ever smoked.1
  • At least 60 years old and have a first-degree relative (for example, father or brother) who has had an aneurysm.2

These men are more likely to have an aneurysm than are women or nonsmoking men.

Experts recommend screening tests for a thoracic aneurysm for anyone who has a close relative who has had a thoracic aortic aneurysm.3

If your doctor thinks you have an aneurysm, you may have tests such as an ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI to find out where it is and how big it is.

How is it treated?

Treatment of an aortic aneurysm is based on how big it is and how fast it is growing. If you have a large or fast-growing aneurysm, you need surgery to fix it. A doctor will repair the damaged part of the blood vessel during open surgery or a minimally invasive procedure.

Small aneurysms rarely rupture and are usually treated with high blood pressure medicine, such as beta-blockers. This medicine helps to lower blood pressure and stress on the aortic wall. If you don't have a repair surgery or procedure, you will have routine ultrasound tests to see if the aneurysm is getting bigger.

Even if your aneurysm does not grow or rupture, you may be at risk for heart problems. Your doctor may suggest that you exercise more, eat a heart-healthy diet, and stop smoking. He or she may also prescribe medicines to help lower high cholesterol.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
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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