Aneurysms of blood vessels are an abnormal outpouching or dilation of the blood vessel wall and which is localised to a specific segment. Most frequently aneurysms of the vascular system involve arteries because of the high blood pressure that is exerted on the wall of these vessels. This combined with the weakness in the wall results in the formation of an aneurysm. The larger the diameter of the aneurysm the thinner the tissue in the wall becomes and the more the aneurysm is predisposed to rupture.

Aneurysms can be classified as true aneurysms or false aneurysms. True aneurysms are those in which the wall of the blood vessel remains intact. In false aneurysms there is a break in the wall and the wall is completed by the formation of blood clot and or fibrosis.

The most common form of aneurysms in the body occur in the infrarenal abdominal aorta. Occasionally, an abdominal aortic aneurysm can involve the common iliac arteries. Isolated common iliac artery aneurysms are less common. An abdominal aortic aneurysm generally does not require any treatment until its diameter is greater than 5 – 5.5cm’s transverse diameter. Common iliac artery aneurysms are generally not treated until they are at least 3cm in diameter.

Aneurysms of the internal iliac artery have a particularly sinister reputation as they may rupture without warning. They are often treated early rather than late.

Popliteal artery aneurysms are next most common after aortic aneurysms. The majority of patients with popliteal aneurysms are males and they are usually treated when they are greater than 2cm in diameter.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms most commonly involve the descending thoracic aorta. They are treated usually when they are greater than 5 – 5.5cm in diameter and are best treated by stent graft placement.

The following videos will outline some of the treatments that are available for these conditions.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Below is a video on aneurysms of the iliac arteries

This video was created and narrated by Dr Raymond Englund