According to screening studies, abdominal aortic aneurysms occur in four to eight percent of people screened. However, these are generally small. In the United States, an estimated 200,000 people are diagnosed with this specific aneurysm each year. It is the fifteenth leading cause of death in the US.
An aneurysm is an enlarged area in a blood vessel. The wall of the vessel weakens, and it bulges like a balloon. This specific type of aneurysm is in the aorta, the primary supplier of blood in the body and the body’s largest artery. The aorta runs from the from the heart where it starts just after the aortic valve and goes down into the abdomen where it is referred to as the abdominal aorta. An abdominal aortic aneurysm happens in the lower part of the aorta. These aneurysms are classified as either small or large. Small ones measure under 5.5 centimeters and large ones measure more than 5.5 centimeters.