What Is an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm?

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (also AAA or triple A) is a bulging, weak spot in the wall of your descending aorta. This is the most common aortic condition. Approximately 15,000 people in the United States die each year from ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm. It is the nation’s 10th leading cause of adult death.

The aorta, the body’s largest artery, sends oxygenated blood to every organ in the body. It extends down from the heart through the chest (thoracic aorta) and into the abdomen (abdominal aorta).

Although aneurysms can occur in any blood vessels in the body, abdominal aortic aneurysms are the most serious because they increase the risk of:

  • Plaque buildup and heart attack
  • Blood clots and stroke
  • Dissection, a tear in the aorta
  • Rupture and massive, life-threatening internal bleeding

Meet the Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Team

Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute is a nationally recognized destination for those who require highly specialized cardiovascular care.

Related Resources