An aneurysm is a widening of a blood vessel. The aorta is the main and largest blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. An aortic aneurysm is the widening of this blood vessel. It is common after age 60 affecting men 5 times more than women. Approximately 5% of men over age 60 develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Rupture of an abdominal aneurysm is a catastrophe, causing excruciating pain, profuse bleeding, shock and death. Half of all persons with untreated abdominal aortic aneurysms die of rupture within 5 years.
Men between the ages of 65 and 75 who have ever smoked need to be screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm with ultrasound.