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Triple A, The silent killer

Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm or so-called Triple A (AAA) is a dilation (ballooning) of part of the aorta that is within the abdomen. An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) usually causes no symptoms unless it ruptures (bursts). A ruptured AAA is often fatal. 


Statistics say about 4 in 100 men and about 1 in 100 women over the age of 65 have an AAA. It becomes more common with increasing age. However, most people with an AAA are not aware that they are having one.



What are the symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm ?

Most abdominal aortic aneurysms produce no symptoms. Pain is the most common symptom when the aneurysm expands or ruptures. It often begins in the central abdomen and radiates to the back or flank. Other symptoms can occur depending upon where the aneurysm is located in the aorta and whether nearby structures are affected. Large aneurysms can burst or rupture, and cause heavy bleeding into the abdomen and cause death eventually. 



What causes an abdominal aortic aneurysm ?

There is no clear study what is the actual cause of AAA but a research found that smoking is a major cause of aortic aneurysm. Studies have shown that the rate of aortic aneurysm has fallen at the same rate as population smoking rates. Moreover, Alcohol, hypertension and Genetic influences also have been taken into account. 



Screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm

There is no definite screening method but an X-ray of the abdomen; an ultrasound scan is the easiest way to detect an AAA. This is a painless test. It is the same type of scan that pregnant women have to look at the baby in the womb. The size of the aneurysm can also be measured by ultrasound. As discussed later, it is important to know the size since the size of dilation matters with the type of treatment. In conclusion, the annual full checkup may help.            

Small AAAs that are not expanding quickly are usually left alone and watched for changes in size, in case the dilation is larger than 5.5 cm (2.2 inches) in diameter, surgery to safe life is to be immediate considered since the rupture might mean fatal.


In the past, the open surgery will only be chosen which is considered major with high risk level and heavy blood loss. However, nowadays, a new treatment technique called Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) has been introduced. EVAR is a minimally-invasive (without a large abdominal incision) procedure performed to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm. However, the technique requires the skill of the expertise



You may find the specialist here at Heart Center, Phyathai2  Hospital


Phyathai 2 Hospital

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Tel:  +66-2617-2444 ext. 2020 or 2047  E mail:

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