Signs and symptoms of an aneurysm depend on the type and location. The
signs and symptoms also depend on whether the aneurysm has ruptured or
is interfering with other muscles, organs and structures in the body.
The signs and symptoms are not known until an aneurysm ruptures or grows
sufficiently to press against nearby organs or tissues or may block the
flow of blood.
I. Aortic Aneurysms:
1) Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm: Symptoms of thoracic aortic aneurysm are
Pain in jaw, neck, upper back or chest.
Cough, hoarseness or experiencing trouble in breathing.
Pain in left shoulder or between shoulder blades.
2) Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms
(AAAs): Symptoms of AAAs include:
Deep penetrating pain the back or side of abdomen.
Steady gnawing pain in the abdomen lasting for hours or days.
Coldness, numbness or tingling of feet.
In case of a rupture of the AAA, symptoms include sudden severe
pain in lower abdomen and back; nausea and vomiting; sweaty
skin, light headedness and rapid heart rate when standing up.
II. Cerebral Aneurysm: Signs and symptoms of
cerebral aneurysm are:
Drooping of eyelids.
Double vision or blurred vision.
Pain above or behind the eye.
A dilated pupil.
Numbness or weakness on one side of the face.
A cerebral aneurysm rupture leads to sudden severe headache,
nausea and vomiting, stiff neck and loss of consciousness.
III. Peripheral Aneurysm: Signs and symptoms of peripheral
aneurysm are as follows:
Pulsating lump felt in the neck, arm or leg
Pain in the leg or arm or cramping with exercise
Painful sores on toes or fingers
Gangrene (i.e., death of tissue) due to severe blockage of blood in
An aneurysm in the popliteal artery can compress the nerves and cause
pain, weakness and numbness in knee and leg (1) & (4).
Medical Tests & Diagnosis Methods/Tools
Detection of aneurysms are only chance detections and symptomatic. However,
one or more of the following diagnostic procedures and methods are used
to evaluate and diagnose aneurysms:
1. X-rays: An X-ray provides a picture of the organs
and structures inside the chest or brain or leg including the blood vessels,
thus resulting in detection of the affected portion.
2. Ultrasound: In this non-invasive test, sound waves
are used to create a picture of the inside of the body. An ultrasound
can be repeated to detect the rapid growth of an aneurysm.
3. Computed Tomography
Scan (CT Scan): In this method, a computer generated
x-ray image of the internal organs can help in detecting an aneurysm.
A CT scan image is used to determine the size and shape of an
abdominal aneurysm more accurately than an ultrasound image.
4. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI studies
are used to create accurate images of aneurysms determining their
exact size and location.
5. Angiography: A special dye is injected into
the blood stream to help reveal the arteries on x-ray pictures
thus showing the amount of damage and blockage in blood vessels.
6. Aortogram: An angiogram of the aorta is called
an Aortogram. An aortogram helps in detecting the location and
size of aortic aneurysms and arteries of the aorta involved.
7. Analysis of Cerebrospinal Fluid: A small amount of
cerebrospinal fluid is collected for analysis from the subarachnoid space
(i.e., the space between spinal cord and the membranes surrounding it)
with the help of a surgical needle after administering local anesthesia.
Traces of blood in the cerebrospinal fluid indicate bleeding or brain
8. Echocardiography: The procedure of using ultrasound
waves to visualize structures inside the heart is known as echocardiography
(1), (6) & (7).
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