Can You Live with an Aortic Aneurysm?

The aorta serves as the central channel for distributing oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body, functioning as a vital highway of circulation. However, when the integrity of the artery wall weakens, it can lead to the formation of an aortic aneurysm – a condition characterized by abnormal bulging or dilation. In this article brought to Cardiovascular Specialists of York, we explore the nuances of aortic aneurysms, their symptoms, and treatment options. We’ll also touch on how it is living confidently with this condition.

What Are Aortic Aneurysms?

An aortic aneurysm manifests as a localized dilation or bulge in the wall of the aorta, and it represents a significant health concern due to the potential for rupture and life-threatening consequences. These aneurysms can develop in various segments of the aorta, including the thoracic (chest) and abdominal regions. Each presents unique challenges and considerations, and a licensed cardiologist is best suited to develop a personalized treatment plan.

Symptoms of Aortic Aneurysms

Aortic aneurysms often remain asymptomatic until they reach a critical size or undergo rupture. However, as they enlarge, individuals may experience symptoms such as:

  • Persistent or severe abdominal, chest, or back pain, which may indicate an impending rupture.
  • Pulsating sensation in the abdomen or chest.
  • Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or swallowing.
  • Hoarseness or difficulty speaking, especially in thoracic aneurysms compressing nearby structures.

It’s important to note that some aortic aneurysms may be incidentally detected during routine medical imaging studies. This is why regular health screenings and diagnostic evaluations are so essential.

Treatment Options for Aortic Aneurysms

Managing aortic aneurysms involves risk assessment, surveillance, and timely intervention to mitigate the risk of rupture and associated complications. Treatment options vary and may include:

  • Watchful Waiting: For small, asymptomatic aneurysms that pose a low risk of rupture, a strategy of vigilant monitoring through periodic imaging studies helps track changes in size and assess the need for intervention.
  • Medication: In cases where underlying conditions such as hypertension or high cholesterol contribute to the development or progression of aneurysms, medications may be prescribed to control blood pressure and lipid levels.
  • Endovascular Repair: Minimally invasive endovascular procedures involve placing stent grafts within the aneurysm to reinforce the weakened artery wall and redirect blood flow.
  • Open Surgical Repair: In rare cases, traditional open surgical techniques may be employed for complex or anatomically challenging aneurysms.

Living with an Aortic Aneurysm

Receiving a diagnosis of an aortic aneurysm can understandably evoke feelings of concern and uncertainty. However, it's crucial to approach this condition with a proactive mindset and embrace strategies for living confidently.

Stay informed about your condition, including its causes, risk factors, and treatment options. Engage with your physician, heart doctor, and healthcare providers to make informed decisions about your care. More importantly, keep up with scheduled medical appointments and imaging studies to monitor the status of your aneurysm.

Further, adopt a healthy lifestyle. Embrace a balanced diet, engage in regular exercise, adopt stress management techniques, and avoid tobacco to promote overall cardiovascular health. You don’t have to fight alone. Lean on friends, family, and support groups for emotional support and practical assistance. Sharing experiences with others facing similar challenges can provide valuable encouragement and camaraderie.

Consult with a Licensed Cardiologist

A thoracic or abdominal aortic aneurysm is nothing to take lightly. Contact Cardiovascular Specialists of York to schedule an appointment or walk-in with a licensed cardiologist today. With proactive management and a positive outlook, it's possible to lead a fulfilling life while effectively managing an aortic aneurysm.


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Sylvia Savoie

Hanover, PA

My mom was seen by Dr. Gilbert. She was treated like a queen. Treated her with respect and dignity and took his time even going through writing the information down so she would have the paper. I can’t say enough and the staff at the Cardiovascular Specialist of York clinic was great and friendly.

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Joann Bernard

York, PA

Dr. Gilbert provided excellent service. Both personable and professional. Went above and beyond to provide detailed explanations that I could readily understand. I've never felt more comfortable and better served. If you need a cardiologist in town, I strongly recommend seeing Dr. Gilbert.

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Pennville, PA

Excellent experience. Dr. Gilbert gave me a wealth of information about taking good care of myself.  I went into this appointment a little worried but came out relieved after his clear explanation and valuable health tips. If you are looking for the best cardiologist in town look no further than Cardiovascular Specialists of York.

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