Aneurysm: Symptoms and Treatments
An aneurysm is a localized enlargement of a blood vessel, such as the aorta. It may be due to inflammation such as a syphilis, or to some weakness on the arterial wall, due to some weakness in the arterial wall, due to arteriosclerosis and hypertension.
Large aneurysms or swellings of the aorta are usually due to arteriosclerosis. The most serious type of vessel enlargement is known as the dissecting aortic aneurysm. In this condition some of the blood may be forced partly through a crack in the vessel wall, thus opening a double channel and hindering the normal flow. This condition may arise from wear and tear on the arterial wall due either to high blood pressure or perhaps germ infection or congenital weakness.
Any injury to the client, such as a knife or bullet wound, or a severe blow over the chest wall, may produce an aneurysm, either of the aorta or one of its larger branches. The condition occurs ten times more frequently in males, due perhaps to heavy manual work and the greater likehood of injury. Aneurysms are often seen in the vessels in the brain, probably due to weaknesses existing from early life. One of these aneurysms in the brain may gradually enlarge and press on surrounding tissues, causing serious trouble in the central nervous system, such as paralysis, weakness on one side of the face or body.
If such an aneurysm raptures, there is likely to be sudden flooding of the area with blood, and the patient may collapse and die. On the other hand, there may be only periodic oozing from the aneurysm causing minor trouble in the area but continuing over a long period of time.
Much will depend upon the location of the swelling or aneurysm. If the swelling is located at the beginning of the aorta, syphilis should be suspected and adequately treated. If there is a large swelling in the arch of the aorta, it may be possible to remove the damaged segment and replace it with a plastic graft. The same is true if the aneurysm is found in the abdominal aorta or one of its larger branches leading to the lower extremities. Aneurysms occurring within the vessels of the brain can also be treated surgically. Results are often surprisingly good and the patient may return to normal activity.