Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)

UW Health heart, vascular and thoracic surgeons in Madison, Wisconsin, provide surgical treatment for patients with abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).


Minimally-Invasive Surgery for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm



About Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)


UW Health vascular surgeon Gretchen Schwarze, MD, talks about abdominal aortic aneurysms.



About Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA)


An aneurysm is the term for a weakened part of a blood vessel that expands like a balloon. When an aneurysm occurs in the main blood vessel in your stomach, it is called an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA).

  • Most abdominal aortic aneurysms develop below the renal arteries (the area where the aorta branches out to the kidneys). Many aortic aneurysms extend beyond the aorta into the iliac arteries (the blood vessels that go to the pelvis and legs).
  • Up to 75 percent of aortic aneurysms are abdominal aortic aneurysms. They are found most often in men between the ages of 40 and 70.
  • The symptoms of aortic aneurysm are silent and often indistinct, placing patients in sudden, unexpected jeopardy if the aneurysm bursts. But with your doctor's help, it can be treated before it becomes life-threatening.
  • You may be at risk for an aortic aneurysm if you smoke, have high blood pressure, or if one of your family members has had aortic aneurysm disease.
  • If you are concerned about your risk, the best place to start is with your primary care provider. A regular physical exam may detect an abnormal size aorta, and help your provider determine whether you need further testing. 

Risk Factors, Preventive Monitoring and Screening