The aorta is the major blood vessel that supplies blood and oxygen to the rest of the body. The aorta, which is about as thick as a garden hose, runs from your heart down the center of your body through your chest and abdomen. Because the aorta is the body’s main artery to supply blood and nutrients to the rest of the body, a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm can cause hemorrhaging, organ failure or even death.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) or "triple-A" is when there is a weakened and bulging area in a part of the aorta that is in the abdomen. It could resemble something like a cheese bubble on a slice of pizza. Abdominal aneurysms often grow slowly over a period of time and may never cause any problems at all. However, since there is a chance that the AAA can grow larger or increase in size, it is important that your physician carefully monitor the growth and size of the aneurysm. If an aneurysm starts to grow, you may begin to experience a "heart beat" or pulsating feeling near the navel, tenderness or pain in the chest, abdomen or back.
Generally, if the aneurysm is small and less than 1.6 inches, and there are no symptoms, your doctor may take a "wait and see" approach to see if it gets any larger. Monitoring is usually done by having abdominal ultrasounds every six to twelve months. If the aneurysm is medium size, in between 1.6 and 2.2 inches, you doctor may discuss the risks and benefits of continuing to watch the aneurysm or performing surgery. If the aneurysm is large, over 2.2 inches, or is quickly growing, most likely surgery will be performed before the aneurysm ruptures.
Signs and symptoms that the abdominal aortic aneurysm may have burst may include: intense abdominal, back or chest pain, sweating, clamminess, dizziness, pain in your legs, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, blue toes, fast heart rate, shortness of breath, confusion and a loss of consciousness. A ruptured AAA is a surgical emergency or the patient could bleed to death.
Unfortunately, even though abdominal aortic aneurysms are slow growing, there are times when a doctor fails to diagnose or properly monitor the aneurysm. A failure to properly diagnose or treat a AAA can lead to hemorrhaging or even death.
Here at the Philadelphia Beasley medical malpractice law firm, our specialized teams of doctors and nurses have years of experience caring for patients that had dissecting abdominal aneurysms and stable AAA's. Our medical teams have reviewed numerous cases where there was a failure to properly monitor and treat abdominal aneurysms. If you or a loved one has suffered due to a physician failing to treat your aneurysm please feel free to contact one of our experienced lawyers, physicians or nurses at (215) 866-2424 for a strictly confidential and free consultation.