Aneurysm Embolisation

Non-surgical treatment for a potentially dangerous condition.

Aneurysms are abnormal enlargements of the arteries. They can occur anywhere but affect in particular some arteries in the abdomen. An aneurysm is weaker than the normal artery and therefore is at risk of leaking and rupture, a potentially catastrophic event.

Aneurysms may be found as the cause of pain or other symptoms, or be found incidentally on scans performed for other reasons.

There are some patients who are at particular risk of aneurysms and bleeding from aneurysms. The decision to treat an aneurysm depends on location, size, your health and past medical history and your wishes.

Disease Symptoms

Aneurysms usually do not cause symptoms. When large they can cause pain or pressure on adjacent organs. Usually however they are found incidentally. Even if not causing symptoms, when identified you should be assessed to establish whether treatment is indicated.

What causes an aneurysm?

Aneurysms are related to age, high blood pressure and some rare medical conditions. They are commoner in women. The risk of rupture and major bleeding is increased in women of childbearing age, as aneurysms often increase in size during pregnancy.

How is an aneurysm diagnosed?

Although they can be identified on ultrasound scans, a CT or MRI scan performed with contrast/dye is essential in establishing the risk of rupture and planning treatment.

Do I need treatment?

Not always. Aneurysms which are small and longstanding are unlikely to increase in size or rupture.

How is an aneurysm managed?

Aneurysms in the abdomen are best managed by embolisation, where special soft metal coils are placed inside the aneurysm, or by stenting where a mesh stent is placed across the aneurysm. Both these methods prevent blood flow in the aneurysm leading it to clot. Once clotted the aneurysm does not increase in size and the risk of rupture is reduced.

When you are seen in rooms by the IR specialist you can trust that you will be only offered treatment if it is thought to be your best option.