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Aneurysm

artery blood dilation wall

Aneurysm, localized dilation of a blood vessel, usually an artery, due to local fault in the wall through defect, disease, or injury, producing a pulsating swelling over which a murmur may be heard. Generally the structural integrity of the arteries enables them to resist the destructive effects of the repetitive hydraulic stress of circulation. Sometimes, however, the wall of an artery gives way, and a segment of the artery expands to form a balloon-like dilation: an aneurysm. If left untreated, the aneurysm may burst, causing death or grave disability. Even an unruptured aneurysm can lead to damage by interrupting the flow of blood or by impinging on and in some cases eroding nearby blood vessels, organs, or bone. The incidence of aneurysm rises with age.

See also: DeBakey, Michael Ellis; Stroke.

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