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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

“Every year 200,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with abdominal aortic aneurysms.”

– Society for Vascular Surgery

illustration of aorta with abdominal aortic aneurysm needing abdominal aortic aneurysm treatment

Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) can be incredibly dangerous, they can rupture with little warning and lead to life-threatening internal bleeding. However, with early detection and treatment, they can be managed effectively. Drs. Sammy Eghbalieh and Andrew Abi-Chaker are highly experienced vascular surgeons who specialize in the treatment of abdominal aortic aneurysms. They have superior knowledge of the latest diagnostic and endovascular treatment options, and are committed to providing personalized care for each patient. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm, Drs. Eghbalieh and Abi-Chaker can provide the expert care you need to protect your health, improve your quality of life and provide priceless peace of mind.

To schedule an appointment, call 818-900-6480.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Q & A

illustration of two types of abdominal aneurysm also known as stomach aneurysm

There are 2 types of abdominal aortic aneurysms, saccular and fusiform.

What is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) can be a life-threatening condition if left untreated. They develop in the main artery in your abdomen – the aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in your body and it supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs. 

An abdominal aortic aneurysm forms as a result of a weak spot in the artery wall. One of the most common risk factors for developing a AAA is smoking. Smoking breaks down the elasticity of the artery allowing a “balloon” like bulge in your artery to form. If the bulge remains untreated and continues to grow, it can eventually rupture which can cause severe pain and catastrophic blood loss. If the aneurysm ruptures your chances of survival drops significantly, with survival rates ranging between 30-60% after an aneurysm rupture. Survival is heavily dependent on how close you are to a hospital when your aneurysm ruptures. 

“Aortic aneurysms or aortic dissections were the cause of 9,904 deaths in 2019.”
Centers for Disease control and Prevention

Types of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

There are 2 types of abdominal aortic aneurysms: 

  1. Saccular- balloons out only on one side or spot
  2. Fusiform- balloons out on all sides of the aneurysm equally

(Saccular aneurysms can be associated with a higher risk of rupture and are considered more dangerous.)

If you are suspected of having a AAA, your doctor will likely recommend an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan or MRI.

“A ruptured AAA is the 15th leading cause of death in the country and 10th leading cause of death in men over 55.”– Society for Vascular Surgery

Signs and Symptoms of an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

  • Pain in the belly or side of the belly
  • Back pain 
  • A pulsing sensation near the belly button

Do not ignore these warning signs as they could lead to life-threatening internal bleeding. While some of these symptoms could be the result of a variety of underlying causes, it could be a medical emergency so see your doctor!

Risk Factors for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

  • Current or previous smoker
  • Family history 
  • High blood pressure 
  • High cholesterol 
  • Atherosclerosis 
  • Age > 65 
  • Caucasian race 
  • Male gender 
  • Cardiac or peripheral vascular disease
  • Congenital connective tissue disorders (Marfan Syndrome)
A MRI machine is used to help diagnose an abdominal aortic aneurysm when a person is feeling symptoms.

If you are suspected of having a AAA, your doctor will likely recommend an abdominal ultrasound, CT scan or MRI.

Treatment Options for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Treatment recommendations for abdominal aortic aneurysms are based on the size and location of the aortic aneurysm. Small aneurysms measuring < 5.0 cm in diameter are generally managed with medical management and lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and controlling blood pressure. It will also involve monitoring every 6-12 months to evaluate the risk of rupture. However, once your aneurysm reaches ≥ 5.0 cm in size you are at greater risk for rupture and your doctor will likely discuss the following treatment options with you.

  • Open surgical repair with surgical graft
  • Hybrid surgical repair with surgical graft or stent graft
  • Endovascular surgery for aortic repair (EVAR) with stent graft
  • Percutaneous EVAR or PEVAR

Drs. Eghbalieh and Abi-Chaker specialize in advanced EVAR repair and incorporate advanced IVUS (intravascular ultrasound) imaging into their cases to improve patient outcomes and long-term graft performance. Additionally, SCMSC is a top training center in EVAR (endovascular aneurysm repair) for one of the leading medical device companies in AAA. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a AAA, contact our office for evaluation.

To schedule an evaluation at Southern California Multi-Specialty Center, call 818-900-6480.

Our Vascular & Endovascular Surgeons

It's important to remember not all physicians are trained in advanced vascular and endovascular surgery. It’s a good practice to get multiple opinions and do research on the surgery and the physician.

Dr. Sammy Eghbalieh is the best vascular surgeon in Los Angeles at the Southern California Multi-Specialty Center

Sammy Eghbalieh, MD, FACS, DFSVS, RPVI

Dr. Andrew Abi-Chaker is a top vascular surgeon at Southern California Multi-Specialty Center in Los Angeles
Andrew Abi-Chaker, MD
Dr. Sammy Eghbalieh is the best vascular surgeon in Los Angeles at the Southern California Multi-Specialty Center
Tony Shao, MD, RPVI

Make an appointment at SCMSC

We look forward to welcoming you

Schedule an evaluation with Dr. Eghbalieh or Dr. Abi-Chaker at Southern California Multi-Specialty Center.

SCMSC front office staff in Los Angeles welcoming a new patient  for abdominal aortic aneurysm treatment