Description of Aneurism
Aneurism is a balloon like swelling of the wall of an artery that occurs when it becomes weakened or damaged in some way.
Persons most commonly affected by Aneurysms
Adult persons of both sexes, especially in older age.
Organ or part of body involved in Aneurysms - arteries in any part but especially in the brain (circle of Willis), aorta or leg arteries.
Symptoms and indications of Aneurism
These vary a great deal depending on the site and size of the aneurysm. Pain may be present if the aneurysm compresses nerves, and also bulging, which may throb and contract and expand. A thoracic aneurysm may press on the windpipe and cause a hoarseness of the voice and a cough. A brain aneurysm may cause a throbbing headache and changes in the eyes (pupils of different sizes) or disturbances of vision. If the aneurysm affects the heart there may be disturbances of heartbeat rhythm and other symptoms of cardiac failure. Oedema also occurs, causing swelling of the skin because of interference with the circulation. An aneurysm is a medical emergency, and the doctor should be called immediately.
Treatment of Aneurysm
Hospital treatment and surgery to remove or isolate the aneurysm and restore the circulation by means of a graft or anastomosis (artificial joining of sections of the arteries involved). Anticoagulant drugs may be needed after surgery and penicillin if the aneurysm was caused by SYPHILIS.
Causes and risk factors of Aneurysm
Aneurysms occur because of a weakness in the walls of the arteries, which is usually caused by atheroma or ATHEROSCLEROSIS (a degenerative disease of the arterial walls with scarring and a buildup of fatty deposits). Syphilis is another cause, especially affecting the aorta in the thorax. More rarely, there may be a congenital weakness affecting the arteries, especially in the case of aneurysms in the circle of Willis (a circle of arteries supplying, and sited beneath, the brain). The danger with aneurysm is that of rupture causing haemorrhage and death, and also the risk of stroke. Some changes in the arteries tend to occur naturally in older people. Atheroma or atherosclerosis is more likely to be a problem in people eating a diet rich in saturated fat. Smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and a sedentary lifestyle are additional contributory factors.