Body Aneurysm

Body Aneurysms can occur when areas of weakened arteries balloon under pressure. Common locations of aneurysms include arteries in the abdominal cavity that feed the spleen, kidney, intestines, and other organs. They also can be found in the arms, legs, and neck.

Unruptured aneurysms found in the body can be problematic because they are susceptible to blood clots forming at the site of the weakened arterial wall. Clot, a mass of thickened blood, can affect the rate of blood flow through a vessel or block it entirely. Also, if a piece of clot breaks off, it can travel through the bloodstream, get stuck in another vessel, and block blood flow at that point. Larger aneurysms can press on nerves or veins, which can cause pain, numbness, swelling, and are at risk for rupture. Common types of body aneurysms include:

  • Renal artery aneurysms affect arteries leading to the kidneys
  • Splenic artery aneurysms affect the artery that feeds the spleen, an organ that regulates the body’s immune system. Splenic aneurysms are the most common type of aneurysm occur in the abdominal cavity.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This overview is provided for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Be sure to talk with your doctor for a complete discussion of this condition as well as the benefits and risks of any treatment options.

 

Symptoms

Aneurysms affecting renal or splenic arteries typically do not produce symptoms, and are found by chance during diagnostic testing administered for another purpose. In both cases, ruptured aneurysms can be life threatening.

Possible symptoms include:

Renal

  • High blood pressure
  • Pain
  • Blood in urine

Splenic

  • Pain in abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Diagnosis

Your doctor may:

  • review your medical history
  • ask about your signs and symptoms and when they began
  • conduct a physical exam

Your doctor may order one or more of the following tests:

Renal and Splenic

  • Ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to create pictures of the structures inside the body
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan is an imaging test that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to produce images of the body. CT with contrast, a dye-like substance, enhances the image of the organ or tissue under study.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) uses magnets and radio waves to create pictures of the organs and structures in your body. This test works well for detecting aneurysms and pinpointing their size and exact location.
  • Renography (for renal cases) is used to check the function and structure of the kidneys. A tiny amount of a radioactive substance is used during the test to help view the kidney on X-rays.

Treatment

Treatment for this condition must always be discussed with your doctor
for a full discussion of options, risks, benefits, and other information.

Small, unruptured aneurysms that are not creating any symptoms may not need treatment unless they grow, trigger symptoms, or rupture. Larger aneurysms may interfere with blood flow, preventing oxygen and nutrients from reaching other parts of the body.

Endovascular embolization is a minimally-invasive procedure in which a catheter (tube) is inserted through an incision in the femoral artery at the groin and guided directly to the damaged blood vessel. Your doctor will use fluoroscopy (a type of X-ray) to track the catheter through the arteries or veins. Once in position, soft platinum metal coils are pushed through the tube and released into the bulging space (renal, splenic aneurysms) or dysfunctional vessels (PVC, varicoceles, bleeds). The coils mechanically occlude (block) and induce clotting (embolization) to cut off blood flow to the affected site. Coils are very small and thin, ranging in size from about twice the width of a human hair (largest) to less than one hair’s width (smallest). The number of coils used depends on the size of the lesion.