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Gwinnett Medical Center

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

The aorta is the artery that carries blood directly from the heart. Blood then flows from the aorta into smaller arteries that supply the rest of the body. The abdominal aorta is the term used for part of the aorta that travels through the abdomen (stomach area). An aneurysm occurs when part of the aortic wall is weakened. This weakened area thins as it expands which can lead to rupture, meaning it leaks, bursts open or tears. The risk of rupture is directly related to the size of the aneurysm and the rate at which it is growing. Aneurysms less than 4cm. are unlikely to spontaneously rupture. The risk of rupture is moderate when the aneurysm is between 4 and 6cms. Greater than 6cm aneurysms are very likely to rupture, as are aneurysms that are growing quickly.

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