The aorta is the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Each year more than 200,000 Americans get an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). If ruptured, it can cause massive internal bleeding, which is usually fatal.
Abdominal aortic aneurysms occur most often in people age 65 and older.
Men develop abdominal aortic aneurysms much more often than women. However, 2-3% of women who have an AAA have four times the risk of rupture than men.
Since aneurysms can develop and become abnormally large before causing any symptoms, it is important to look for them in people who are at high risk.
Dr. Katherine S. Gallagher, MD, explains what an abdominal aortic aneurysm is and why it ruptures; as well as the symptoms, screenings, and the monitoring that should be done if risks are present.