A weakening in the wall of a blood vessel in your abdomen or sometimes in a leg which results in an abnormally dilated area. This dilated area is prone to:
- Clotting off and interrupting blood flow.
- Rupturing and causing serious bleeding.
- Compressing adjacent tissues.
Usually Genetic, Rarely Occur
- Peripheral aneurysms are usually genetic; that is, you are born with the tendency to form them.
- Aneurysms in the abdomen, called splenic aneurysms, are uncommon, affecting 0.7% of the population.
- Peripheral aneurysms in the legs are very rare, affecting 0.007% of men, and even fewer women.
May Require Treatment
If you develop a peripheral aneurysm, it will not go away unless treated.
- Most peripheral aneurysms over 2 cm in diameter require treatment.
- In some cases even smaller aneurysms may require treatment
May Be Absent
Many peripheral aneurysms cause no symptoms and are found when your doctor does a physical or performs testing for other reasons.
Abdominal Pain, Fainting
May indicate that a splenic aneurysm in your abdomen is causing bleeding.
Sudden Pain, Weakness, Swelling, Numbness in the Leg
May signal interrupted blood flow an aneurysm in your leg. In rare cases, may indicate compression of nearby nerves or compression of a vein next to the aneurysm.
Painful, Discolored Toe
“Blue toes” may indicate the presence of small blood clots washed down from elsewhere. This condition heals on its own in 2-3 months.
Some Specific Causes of Peripheral Aneurysms Include:
- If family members have had an aneurysm you are more likely to have one.
- Having one peripheral aneurysm increases the risk of developing another one elsewhere.
- Smoking is the major controllable cause of aneurysm growth.
- For women, splenic aneurysms in the abdomen have a tendency to grow during pregnancy and are more common for mothers who have had many children.
Peripheral aneurysms are often identified in a physical exam. If so, make an appointment to see a vascular surgeon.