An aortic aneurysm is a general term for an enlargement (dilation) of the aorta to greater than 1.5 times normal size. While the cause of an aneurysm may be unknown, the end result is weakness in the wall of the aorta at that location.
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CT reconstruction image of an abdominal aortic aneurysm
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The aneurysm may occasionally cause pain, which is a sign of impending rupture. When rupture occurs, massive internal hemorrhage results, and, unless treated immediately, shock and death can occur within minutes.
- Johnston KW, Rutherford RB, Tilson MD, Shah DM, Hollier L, Stanley JC (March 1991). "Suggested standards for reporting on arterial aneurysms. Subcommittee on Reporting Standards for Arterial Aneurysms, Ad Hoc Committee on Reporting Standards, Society for Vascular Surgery and North American Chapter, International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery". Journal of Vascular Surgery : Official Publication, the Society for Vascular Surgery [and] International Society for Cardiovascular Surgery, North American Chapter 13 (3): 452–8. PMID 1999868.