What is Aneurysm?
An artery in the body is responsible for transporting oxygenated blood to different parts of the body and veins are blood vessels that carry impure blood to the heart. When the walls of the artery gets damaged or injured causing balloon like bulge in it, it is called aneurysm. This can happen due to some medical conditions, sudden injury or trauma to the blood vessel. There is every chance for developing aneurysm on the artery when the already weakened wall is pushed with volumes of blood.
Aneurysm gets complicated when it gets ruptured inside. When the layers of arterial wall gets collapsed and ruptured it causes internal bleeding. In some cases the arterial wall gets dissected and leaks out blood. Both rupture and dissection of aneurysm are serious often causing death. To prevent such cases, early diagnoses of aneurysm is necessary.
Aneurysm can occur anywhere in the body, but it often occurs in the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel carrying blood from the heart. The term aneurysm is derived from Greek meaning “to dilate”, where the blood filled artery develops balloon like bulge inside.
Aneurysm can be classified into many Types:-
- Based on layers of Wall :
Aneurysm can be categorized into true aneurysm and false aneurysm. If all the three layers (intima layer, media layer and adventitia layer) of an artery get damaged, it is called true aneurysm. Some types of true aneurysm are atherosclerotic aneurysm, congenital aneurysm and syphilitic aneurysm.
When the blood is leaking out from an artery without any damage to its layers, it is called as false aneurysm. Sometimes, blood filled artery will develop a clot and rupture eventually thus leaking the blood inside. Sudden trauma or injury to the artery like knife cuts or bullet wounds can cause pseudo or false aneurysm.
- Based on Shape and Size :
Aneurysm can be further divided into two types saccular and fusiform aneurysm, based on its shape and size. If the balloon like bulge is spherical in shape affecting only one portion of the blood vessel having thrombus or blood clot in it, it is known as saccular aneurysm.
In case the aneurysm takes the shape of a spindle and vary in length and diameter affecting large portions of the blood vessel or artery it is called fusiform aneurysm. Often the aortic artery or abdominal aorta develops this type of aneurysm.
- Based on Location :
Aneurysm can be classified into many types based on where it occurs in the body. It can be arterial or venous aneurysm affecting either artery or veins of blood vessel. Aneurysm can affect the heart, particularly the coronary artery or aneurysm that develops on the sinus of Valsalva. If the aneurysm occurs in aorta it is called aortic aneurysm, which can occur in thoracic cavity or abdomen or heart.
Aneurysm developing in the brain like cerebral aneurysm or Charcot Bouchard aneurysm belongs to the type of brain aneurysm. In case the aneurysm affects the legs, it is known as popliteal aneurysm. Aneurysm developing in the kidneys is known as renal artery aneurysm and in rare cases it can occur in the capillaries known as capillary aneurysm.
Who Are At Risk?
- Aneurysm is likely to develop in people who are overweight, who have diabetes and who have high blood pressure or cholesterol.
- Old age people and people with chronic syphilis infection can get aneurysm.
- Excess of alcohol and smoking can trigger formation of aneurysm.
- Certain medical conditions like Tuberculosis and brain infections can cause aneurysm.
- Genetic factors can also cause aneurysm.
Aneurysm can be treated well if found in early stages. Medications can be given to relax the blood vessels and to lower blood pressure so that the chance of aneurysm getting ruptured is prevented. In severe cases, aneurysm can be repaired by surgery.