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What is a Leaking Aneurysm?

By Pamela Pleasant
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A leaking aneurysm is a serious medical condition. It involves a stretching or bulging vein or artery, causing an eventual leak or burst. Aneurysms can happen for a variety of reasons, but the most common are an injury or illness or a genetic birth defect. This medical condition can go unnoticed for many years, but certain things may trigger an artery or vein to leak or burst. A leaking aneurysm can cause strokes, heart attacks, or even death.

Typically, aneurysms themselves are not considered dangerous. The artery or vein can double in size without causing any discomfort or pain. A leaking aneurysm can cause a considerable amount of pain and they are most dangerous when they occur in the abdomen, brain, or aorta. Specific symptoms can depend on the affected area. For example, severe headaches, nausea, and vertigo can accompany a leaking aneurysm in the brain.

A leaking aneurysm in the abdominal area may be hard to detect because the blood loss is usually contained to a certain area. If this type of aneurysm is detected early, it can be treated and the survival rate increases. When the bleeding leaks into the abdominal wall and advances throughout the tissues, the chances for death increases. If the bleeding cannot be controlled, however, death is probable. The symptoms of this condition include a loss of appetite, vomiting, and nausea.

The non-leaking aneurysm can be treated easily by precautionary care or with a surgical procedure. A leaking aneurysm is much more difficult to diagnose or treat. Echocardiograms or a CT scan are needed to pinpoint the problem. Surgery is then immediately done to stop the bleeding. Endovascular repair or synthetic and stent grafting are used to repair the vein or artery.

Even when these repair procedures are done, problems still can arise, which can cause potentially dangerous situations. Excessive internal bleeding can continue after surgery and the chances for acquiring an infection also go up. After being treated for a leaking aneurysm, a patient will still have to be monitored for six months to make sure there are no further problems.

There are ways to avoid an aneurysm. High blood pressure or hypertension should be kept under control because they can worsen a bulging or semi-blocked vein or artery. Smoking should also be avoided because it can significantly increase the risk of a vein burst.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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