An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulge that occurs in the wall of the major blood vessel (aorta) that carries blood from your heart to your body. Aortic aneurysms can occur anywhere in your aorta and may be tube-shaped (fusiform) or round (saccular).

Aortic aneurysms include:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm. An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs along the part of the aorta that passes through the abdomen.
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm. A thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs along the part of the aorta that passes through the chest cavity.

In some cases, an individual may have an abdominal aortic aneurysm and a thoracic aortic aneurysm.

Having an aortic aneurysm increases your risk of developing an aortic dissection. An aortic dissection occurs when a tear develops in the inner layer of the wall of the aorta. This causes one or more of the layers of the wall of the aorta to separate, which weakens the wall of the aorta. Having an aortic aneurysm also increases your risk that the aneurysm can burst (rupture).

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic doctors trained in blood vessel conditions (vascular medicine), blood vessel surgery (vascular and endovascular surgery), heart and blood vessel surgery (cardiovascular surgery), heart and blood vessel conditions (cardiovascular diseases), and other areas have experience evaluating and treating aortic aneurysms. Mayo doctors evaluate and treat more than 6,500 people with aortic aneurysms each year.

    Each Mayo Clinic location offers a vascular center, staffed by doctors and other specialists trained in vascular diseases. Vascular centers include the Gonda Vascular Center at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota and vascular centers at Mayo Clinic's campuses in Arizona and Florida.

  • Collaboration. Mayo Clinic doctors collaborate as a multidisciplinary team to diagnose and treat your condition.
  • Treatment expertise. Mayo Clinic doctors have expertise and experience treating people with aortic aneurysms with the most current treatments and surgeries, including endovascular repair surgery, open-abdominal and open-chest repair surgery, and other treatments.
  • Latest diagnostic tools. Mayo Clinic doctors use detailed imaging tests to accurately diagnose aortic aneurysms and determine the most appropriate treatment for you. Tests may include ultrasound, echocardiography, computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other tests.
  • Research. Mayo Clinic doctors study new and potential treatments for aortic aneurysms and conduct clinical trials.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for heart and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

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Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in vascular medicine, vascular and endovascular surgery, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery, and other areas may treat people with aortic aneurysms at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona. Doctors in the Vascular Center at Mayo Clinic's campus in Arizona evaluate and treat people with aortic aneurysms.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in vascular medicine, vascular and endovascular surgery, cardiovascular diseases, cardiothoracic surgery, and radiology treat people with aortic aneurysms at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida. Doctors and surgeons in the Vascular Center evaluate and treat people with aortic aneurysms.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in vascular medicine, vascular surgery, cardiovascular diseases, cardiovascular surgery and radiology overview treat people with aortic aneurysms at Mayo Clinic's campus in Minnesota. Staff in the Gonda Vascular Center evaluates and treats people with aortic aneurysms.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in blood vessel conditions (vascular diseases), blood vessel surgery (vascular surgery), heart and blood vessel surgery (cardiovascular surgery), heart and blood vessel conditions (cardiovascular diseases), and other areas research new and improved diagnosis and treatment options for aortic aneurysms.

See a list of publications by Mayo authors on aortic aneurysm on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Sep. 23, 2014