What is an aneurysm?

An aneurysm is a weak area in an artery wall that creates a bulge in the artery. Smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can put you at a higher risk for developing aneurysms.

Common areas where aneurysms can form include:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm or AAA occurs in the major artery from the heart
  • Cerebral aneurysm occurs in the brain
  • Thoracic aortic an
  • Popliteal artery aneurysm occurs in the leg behind the knee
  • Mesenteric artery aneurysm occurs in the intestine
  • Splenic artery aneurysm occurs in an artery in the spleen

An aneurysm can rupture and cause symptoms. A ruptured aneurysm is a medical emergency. Call 911 and seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Clammy skin
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shock
  • Low blood pressure

Screening for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men aged 65–75 years who have ever smoked should get an ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms, even if they have no symptoms.

Medicare offers a one-time, free screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) to:

  • Senior age men who have smoked at least 100 cigarettes during their life
  • Men and women with a family history of AAA

This screening is part of the Welcome to Medicare physical. This physical must be conducted within the first 12 months of enrollment in Medicare.

How is an aneurysm treated?

  • Small aneurysms can be monitored for growth over time
  • Aneurysms that are large or growing quickly may require surgery:
    • Stenting – a stent is a support added to a blood vessel
    • Coiling – the aneurysm or bulge is filled with coiling to restore proper blood flow past the bulge.

Vascular Care at Guthrie

  • Our vascular surgery team specializes in the evaluation and treatment of diseases that affect the circulatory system, including the arteries. Surgeons are specially trained in vascular surgery and board-certified.
  • Guthrie Heart and Vascular Care Center, located in Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital, is a state-of-the-art space for heart and vascular surgeries and procedures. Located near the emergency department and ICU, there are private patient rooms, cardiac catheterization labs, and a hybrid operating room. The unit is centered around quick efficient care of our patients.
  • Guthrie’s hybrid operating room is a state-of-the-art operating room with real-time, high-resolution digital imaging capabilities allowing for complex surgeries and studies to take place simultaneously with an integrated team of heart and vascular specialists.
  • Guthrie Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic specializes in treating pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the heart and lungs. Our team of physicians and staff work with your primary care and specialty care providers to develop personalized and coordinated care just for you.

Guthrie heart surgeons are part of the largest cardiac care team in the northern Pa. and southern N.Y. Your heart is in good hands at Guthrie.

Guthrie interventional cardiology has advanced training in cardiac catheterization, performing ablation, stenting, angioplasty other structural heart procedures 

Guthrie Cardiac and Vascular team treats patients with circulatory diseases: abdominal aortic aneurysm, carotid artery disease, and peripheral artery disease.