Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the Harvard Medical School



Most aortic aneurysms don't cause any symptoms. They often are discovered during routine physical exams. Or they are found on X-rays for unrelated illnesses.

When symptoms develop, they can include:

  • Pain in the:

    • Abdomen

    • Back

    • Fleshy part of the sides, between the bottom of the ribs and hips

  • A feeling of fullness after eating a small meal

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • A pulsating mass in the abdomen

Rarely, floating blood clots form near the aneurysm. These clots can break away. They can block blood vessels elsewhere in the body.

Sometimes an undiscovered abdominal aneurysm ruptures without warning. The patient collapses and dies from massive bleeding inside the abdomen.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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