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Signs of an aortic aneurysm

Aneurysms can develop and grow for long periods of time without any symptoms — until they press on other body parts, block blood flow, or burst. They vary depending on the type and location of the aneurysm.

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is when a bulge develops in the lower part of your aortic artery in your abdomen. If an abdominal aortic aneurysm ruptures and bleeds, it can be life threatening, because it disrupts the main blood supply to the body. Symptoms include:

  • A throbbing sensation  in your abdomen
  • Deep pain in your back or the side of your abdomen
  • Steady, gnawing pain in your abdomen that lasts for hours or days

A thoracic aortic aneurysm is in the upper portion of your aorta located in your chest. It is also called a thoracic aneurysm and aortic dissection (TAAD) because it can lead to a tear in the artery wall. This can cause fatal bleeding and serious damage to the aortic valve in your heart. A rupture is more likely in fast growing, large TAADs, while slow-growing and small ones may never rupture. Symptoms include:

  • Pain in your jaw, neck, back, or chest 
  • Coughing and/or hoarseness
  • Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing or swallowing