An aneurysm is an enlarged portion of a blood vessel. It is important to diagnose an aneurysm, because aneurysms may become larger over time, resulting in an increased risk of rupture, which can be dangerous. To diagnose an aneurysm, your doctor will first ask you many questions including whether another member of your family has had an aneurysm. Then, he or she will perform a complete exam, including listening to your heart, checking your blood pressure, listening to the arteries in your neck, and feeling your abdomen for a mass.
If your doctor suspects that you have an aneurysm in your aorta, an ultrasound test may be performed to visualize it. This is a painless test that can accurately pinpoint and measure an aneurysm. If an aneurysm in the chest is suspected, a CT scan may be recommended to measure it more closely.
If your doctor is concerned that you have a cerebral aneurysm in the brain, it is possible that a CT scan or an invasive test called an angiogram will be recommended. During this procedure, dye is injected into an artery in the arm or leg and travels to the brain where any abnormality can be detected by imaging. MRI can also be useful in the assessment of the aorta or blood vessels in the brain.