Types and Risks of Aortic Aneurysms | MedStar Health

An aortic aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of the aorta, the body’s largest artery, which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. If the aortic wall weakens, the pressure of blood flow can cause the wall of the artery to bulge outward.

What are the types of aortic aneurysm?

We label aortic aneurysms based on where in the body they appear:

We bring heart and vascular surgeons together in our Complex Aortic Center to care for patients with these complex conditions.

What are the risk factors for aortic aneurysms?

An aneurysm can form in the aorta for many reasons. The biggest risk factor is smoking, which also increases the risk that the aneurysm will burst.

Other risk factors for developing an aortic aneurysm include:


Abdominal Duplex Ultrasound

Abdominal duplex ultrasound is a combination of a traditional and Doppler ultrasound that assesses the blood vessels in your abdomen for blockages or aneurysms.

Cardiac Catheterization

Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.

Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan

The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.


An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets, and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels


Careful monitoring, medication, and other approaches may be enough to treat an aortic aneurysm without surgery. For more complex cases, we offer individualized treatment plans.

Aneurysm Surgery

Aneurysm surgery is used to repair bulges in blood vessels after they have ruptured or to prevent them from rupturing. Surgery may take several approaches: traditional open surgery, a minimally invasive endovascular method or a hybrid of the two.

Fenestrated Aortic Aneurysm Repair

Fenestrated aortic aneurysm repair is a procedure using custom stents to treat aneurysms that affect multiple branches of the aorta.

Additional information

Complex Aortic Center

Partner with a recognized leader in offering care and disease management for the most complex aortic disorders.

Ask MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Have general questions for our heart and vascular program? Email us at AskMHVI@medstar.net. If you have clinically-specific questions, please contact your physician’s office.