Arterial Aneurysms

What is an Aneurysm?

An artery is a blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood from your heart to all the parts of the body. An aneurysm is a condition where the walls of the artery dilate or “balloon” out. This ballooning may increase in size and finally burst leading to life threatening bleeding or the artery blocking off.

There are three main types of aneurysms we treat at Ponosh Vascular are :

  1. Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms – the commonest aneurysm found in the largest artery of your body, the aorta, in your abdomen (belly)
  2. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms – an aneurysm found in the largest artery of your body, the aorta, in your chest
  3. Peripheral Artery Aneurysms – aneurysms found in other arteries of your body such as in the popliteal artery which is behind your knee

    What Causes an Aneurysm?

    Degeneration or the process of aging on the wall of the artery causes most aneurysms. The strength of arteries is associated with collagen and elastin, the same structures that give our skin elasticity. As time goes on, these structures degenerate or breakdown causing weakness of the artery that can cause it to balloon. In some cases, they can be caused by inflammation, which leads to the weakening or breakdown of the artery walls. This inflammation can result from atherosclerosis, which is characterized by the deposition of plaque (calcium, cholesterol and minerals). These plaque deposits weaken the inner wall of the artery, making it more susceptible to swelling and rupture.

    In some rare instances, diseases like Marfan’s syndrome (a genetic disorder that affects the tissues holding the body’s cells, tissues and organs together) can cause aneurysms as well as trauma or a variety of much rarer causes.

    Who is Susceptible to an Aneurysm?

    • Family history of aneurysm
    • Being male
    • Being over 60
    • A history of smoking
    • High blood pressure
    • High cholesterol
    • Atherosclerosis (hardened arteries)
    • Having a connective tissue disorder like Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome

    If you are known to have, or if you are likely to develop an aneurysm disease, it is recommended that you optimise your lifestyle by:

    • Controlling high blood pressure
    • Controlling cholesterol
    • Ceasing smoking
    • Exercising regularly

    What are the Symptoms of an Aneurysm?

    Most aneurysms may not show any symptoms however, when symptoms do appear, they generally depend on the region of the aneurysm.

    Symptoms of an aneurysm may rarely include:

    • A pulsatile lump in your abdomen
    • Rarely, your feet may develop painful sores and discoloration
    • Mild back or abdominal pain
    • Extremely rarely, severe abdominal or back pain or collapse

Seeing Mr Ponosh

If you suspect you have an aneurysm, make an appointment with your GP, however in most cases aneurysms have NO symptoms or signs. In most cases your GP will find an aneurysm incidentally while looking for other conditions. Your GP may contact Mr Ponosh’s office directly or, they may provide you a referral to contact his office yourself where his caring staff will help you make an appointment. For further information regarding referrals, click here.

At your appointment with Dr Ponosh, he will undertake a full history and appropriate examination. He may also order appropriate tests before he sees you, to streamline your management and avoid unnecessary appointments. If possible, these tests are bulk billed and they may include ultrasounds, CT scans or blood tests.

From your appointment and tests, Mr Ponosh will develop an appropriate aneurysm treatment plan. This may simply be a regular check-ups and observation or in some cases may be the definitive repair of the aneurysm. In most cases this is achieved through a minimally invasive keyhole stent repair known as an endocascular aneurysm repair.

He will explain the plan to you in an open, straightforward manner with all options and questions addressed.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly team on (08) 9386 6200.