Aneurysm – time bomb
Aneurysm is the pathological protrusion or expansion of the wall of a blood vessel – the artery or vein – because of its weakening or thinning. The same term refers to the change in the chamber of the heart. There are aneurysms of the brain, aorta, heart, peripheral vessels.
According to the structure of the aneurysm can be:
saccular – is a bag filled with blood;
spindle-shaped (cylindrical) – a uniformly widened portion of the vessel.
Aneurysm can exfoliate – blood clots accumulate between the wall layers – thrombotic masses. Exfoliating aneurysm bowl found on the aorta.
The danger of the aneurysm is that at any time its rupture can occur and then the blood from the vessel enters the nearby cavity. And no doctor will tell you when this can happen: maybe tomorrow, or in a month, or in a year, or never at all.
In addition, the aneurysm often forms blood clots, which, having come off, can cause a stroke, myocardial infarction, pulmonary thromboembolism.
Aneurysm may be due to congenital collagen deficiency, vascular atherosclerosis. Predisposing factors are also high blood pressure, injuries.
The aorta is the main and largest artery of the body. It comes out of the heart up and, curving in an arc, goes down into the abdominal cavity. Most often, aneurysms form precisely on the aorta – on the thoracic or abdominal part of it.
At first, aneurysm develops asymptomatically, then, as it grows, it begins to manifest itself:
thoracic aorta – aching pain and heaviness behind the sternum, especially when raising hands, coughing and shortness of breath, dizziness and palpitations;
abdominal aorta – abdominal pain, digestive disorders, urination disorders, pain in the legs, and limping.
A dissecting aneurysm is especially dangerous, which can lead to aortic rupture with the flow of blood into the chest or abdominal cavity. Symptoms of this condition: a sharp pain in the abdomen or behind the sternum, loss of consciousness. Without treatment, death is inevitable, and even with timely assistance, the risk of patient death is very high.
Cerebral vascular aneurysm
Aneurysms of the brain vessels, or, as they are also called, intracranial aneurysms, most often saccular or spindle-shaped. Stratification of an intracranial aneurysm is rare.
Intracranial aneurysms for a long time did not make themselves felt. They begin to disturb a person when they reach a considerable size and squeeze nearby tissues, as well as when they are located in important parts of the brain. Then symptoms appear. But the treachery of the aneurysm is that its symptoms, firstly, are very diverse, secondly, are individual and, thirdly, can be taken for the manifestation of other diseases.
These are the symptoms:
headaches of varying intensity, nature and location – determined by the location of the aneurysm;
insomnia or drowsiness;
dizziness, nausea, vomiting, not dependent on food;
disorders of hearing, vision, impaired sensitivity, coordination of movements, etc.
That is why it is not easy to make a correct diagnosis for cerebral aneurysm.
The main threat of intracranial aneurysm is its rupture and bleeding in the brain. The likelihood of death in this complication is quite high.
Aneurysm of the heart
It represents a section of the wall of the cardiac muscle which is pushed out in the form of a sac.
Aneurysm is manifested in the same way as heart failure: weakness and shortness of breath. Over time, these signs increase. However, the greatest danger, life-threatening, is its gap.
How to reduce the risk of complications
It is not easy to identify an aneurysm, especially if it is small, as the symptoms occur when it reaches a considerable size. Yes, and then the symptoms are non-specific and can be attributed to other pathologies.
The diagnosis of aneurysm is made on the basis of patient examination data:
in case of aortic aneurysm, it is an ultrasound examination of the organs of the chest or abdomen, CT, MRI, X-ray of the aorta with a contrast agent (aortography);
with cerebral aneurysm – angiography;
with aneurysm of the heart – ECG, ultrasound of the heart (echoCG).
With regard to treatment, then with a brain aneurysm, the operation will be most effective – turning off the pathological mass from the bloodstream. But neurosurgical surgery is a big risk, the likelihood of complications and the possibility of death. Therefore, the question of surgery is raised when the size of the aneurysm exceeds 10 mm.
Small-sized aortic aneurysm involves monitoring blood pressure, reducing the manifestations of atherosclerosis. If the size of the aneurysm is more than 4 cm or the increase of symptoms, it is recommended to remove it, replacing the affected area of the vessel with a prosthesis.
With a heart aneurysm, an effective method of treatment is also surgical. But this operation is difficult, and it is performed, if heart failure is growing very quickly, blood clots form, the heart rhythm is seriously disturbed.