An aneurysm is a bulge or "ballooning" in the wall of an artery. Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to other parts of the body. If an aneurysm grows large, it can burst and cause dangerous bleeding or even death.
Most aneurysms occur in the aorta, the main artery that runs from the heart through the chest and abdomen. Aneurysms also can happen in arteries in the brain, heart and other parts of the body. If an aneurysm in the brain bursts, it causes a stroke.
Aneurysms can develop and become large before causing any symptoms. Often doctors can stop aneurysms from bursting if they find and treat them early. They use imaging tests to find aneurysms. Often aneurysms are found by chance during tests done for other reasons. Medicines and surgery are the two main treatments for aneurysms.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Diagnosis and Tests
- Chest CT Scan (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Chest MRI (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
- Heart Health Tests: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Ultrasound -- Vascular (Radiological Society of North America, American College of Radiology) Also in Spanish
- Cardiac catheterization: What causes a pseudoaneurysm? Should a pseudoaneurysm always be treated? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Genetics Home Reference: arterial tortuosity syndrome (National Library of Medicine)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Aneurysm (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Failure modes and secondary endovascular interventions after endovascular aortic repair.
- Article: Learning curve in fenestrated and branched grafting.
- Article: Management of extremity arterial pseudoaneurysms associated with osteochondromas.
- Aneurysms -- see more articles
- Dissecting aneurysms -- see more articles
- Ruptured aneurysms -- see more articles
- Glossary (Vascular Cures)
Find an Expert
- Aneurysms (AGS Foundation for Health in Aging)