Most people with a thoracic or abdominal aortic aneurysm have no symptoms. These silent aneurysms are often recognized by careful physical exam, chest X-ray, and abdominal ultrasounds.
Occasionally, some people may feel a pulsating sensation in the abdomen with an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Less frequently, abdominal aorta aneurysms may produce abdominal or back pain. Vocal hoarseness is an uncommon yet recognized symptom of a thoracic aneurysm locating along the aortic arch; the bulge of the aorta can stretch the nerves of the voice box, affecting the sound of the voice.
Rupture or dissection of the aorta usually causes severe chest, stomach, and/or back pain. The pain usually begins suddenly and might be followed by a feeling of clamminess or uncontrollable sweating, as well as lightheadedness. The heart rate may speed up and the person may lose consciousness.
Rupture or dissection of the aorta is a life-threatening emergency requiring immediate medical care at a hospital. If you have an aortic aneurysm and develop any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
Last reviewed on 2/10/2009
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