Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm | Overview


What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA)?

The main blood vessel in your body is the aorta (say: a-or-ta). It is a long blood vessel that reaches from your chest into your abdomen. It carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body. The part of the aorta in your abdomen is called the abdominal aorta. It supplies blood to your stomach, pelvis and legs.

An aneurysm (say: an-yur-izm) is a weak area in a blood vessel. If a blood vessel weakens, it starts to swell like a balloon and becomes abnormally large. If an aneurysm forms on your abdominal aorta and grows too large, your aorta may tear or burst.


Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm by GR Upchurch, Jr., M.D. and TA Schaub, M.D. (American Family Physician April 01, 2006, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20060401/1198.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 02/14
Created: 04/06