You have many organs in your body, but your heart performs the important job of supporting all of your other organs. Your heart pumps blood to all the organs and tissues in your body, bringing needed oxygen and nutrients to feed your cells. Heart problems are very serious, and detecting them early prevents them from worsening and causing a possibly fatal condition.

At Tinsley Surgical in Wilmington, North Carolina, highly accomplished vascular surgeon Dr. Ellis A. Tinsley uses the latest technology and techniques to provide you with the best care possible. Together with his professional and compassionate staff, Dr. Tinsley provides you with the treatments you need to live your healthiest and fullest life.

What is an aneurysm?
Your heart carries blood around your body through tubes called arteries and veins, together known as your vascular system. Your arteries carry blood that’s rich in oxygen from your heart to the rest of your body. Your veins take the depleted blood back to your heart to be recharged with oxygen.

Your arteries must be strong to withstand the pressure from blood moving through them. When the wall of one of your arteries becomes weak, it can develop a bulge, called an aneurysm, as the blood is being pumped through it. With enough pressure, this aneurysm can rupture the wall of your artery, causing internal bleeding that can be fatal.

What is an abdominal aortic aneurysm?
An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs in the lower section of the aorta, the largest blood vessel in your body. The aorta goes from your heart through your chest and your abdomen. This type of aneurysm occurs in your abdomen.

It’s important to catch an abdominal aortic aneurysm early, because if it ruptures, the internal bleeding that occurs can be fatal. It can be difficult to catch them early, however, because most people don’t experience any symptoms at first.

What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound uses sound waves to develop pictures of the inside of your body the need for incisions. Unlike X-rays, an ultrasound is very safe because it does not require any radiation. It is commonly used to view a fetus while a woman is pregnant.

Catching an abdominal aortic aneurysm with ultrasound
It’s very important to discover an abdominal aortic aneurysm as early as possible for the best outcome. If found early, the aneurysm can be carefully monitored so that it doesn’t worsen and rupture, causing a very serious condition. However, at the early stages of an abdominal aortic aneurysm, symptoms are rare.

Certain people are at higher risk for developing aneurysms. These risk factors include:

  • Family history of aneurysms
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco
  • Trauma

In addition, men have a higher risk than women of developing aneurysms. We recommend that if you have any of these risk factors, you have a screening test to check your arteries for aneurysms and catch them early. Then your doctor can monitor any that are found and treat them when necessary.

Your heart needs to function well to keep the rest of your organs and tissues supplied with oxygen and nutrients. It’s important to have a doctor monitor your heart and vascular system to catch problems early. An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a very serious condition, but an ultrasound screening will find it early.

To set up an appointment at Tinsley Surgical, call our office and talk to our friendly staff. We also offer the high-tech Vein Pix system for sharing photos with Dr. Tinsley from the comfort of your home.