The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It leads from the heart to feed the organs and muscles throughout the body. After it passes the diaphragm, it is called the abdominal aorta. The most common problem that develops in this large and important blood vessel is an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). An aneurysm is a widening and weakening of a portion of the abdominal aorta. Risk factors are: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes. The condition is more common in men, particularly after age 60.
If you have risk factors for an abdominal aortic aneurysm, your Forest Healthcare physician may recommend that you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm test. This quick and painless test uses ultrasound to pinpoint any weaknesses in the blood vessel and estimate the size. The abdominal aortic aneurysm test can also detect the presence of blood clots or inflammation. After the test, your Forest Healthcare doctor may recommend treatment such as surgery or ask you to schedule abdominal aortic aneurysm tests on a regular basis to keep track of the size and position of the weakened areas of this major blood vessel.