Aneurysms

Basic Facts

Fill a balloon too full and it will eventually explode. That’s the extreme picture of what can happen when you have an aneurysm. Medically, when an artery “balloons,” or widens, it weakens the artery wall. This can ultimately lead to a tear, or rupture. This tear is called an aneurysm. An aneurysm can cause hemorrhage (severe bleeding), stroke, or death.

Aneurysms usually develop within the abdomen and aorta (the major artery that leads from your heart and runs through your chest). These are known as abdominal aortic and thoracic aortic aneurysms. Aneurysms can also occur in the brain. This is called a cerebral aneurysm. Aneurysms that form in the carotid arteries in the neck, in the groin, or the back of the legs are known as peripheral aneurysms.