What is Splenic Artery Aneurysm?

Q:
What is splenic artery aneurysm?

A:
Splenic artery aneurysm is a swelling in the splenic artery which is the blood vessel responsible for supplying the spleen with freshly oxygenated blood. This condition usually occurs in older adults who have a history of smoking and pregnant women. Because of severe shock caused by blood loss, splenic artery aneurysm can be fatal.

Symptoms:

Generally speaking, people with the condition have no symptoms initially, but some people may experience nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain or even rupture of the aneurysm that can be life-threatening. Other possible symptoms include:

  • Variation in blood pressure
  • Compression symptoms affecting adjacent organs
  • Abdominal distension, shock and death
  • Rupture of the aneurysm into the lesser sac, followed by intraperitoneal rupture

Causes:

Atherosclerosis, portal hypertension, congenital defects such as berry aneurysms and arterio-venous malformations are likely to cause splenic artery aneurysm. In addition, acquired conditions like pancreatitis and toxic causes may lead to it as well.

Risk factors:

Besides pregnancy and smoking, other factors that can increase the risk of splenic artery aneurysm involve:

  • Lupus
  • Pancreatitis
  • Polyarteritis nodosa
  • Trauma

Treatment:

In order to have the most appropriate treatment, the size of the aneurysm must be considered. If your aneurysm is small, doctor will advise you to wait and see approach. If it’s quite large, a surgery that can clip the aneurysm will be performed on the base of conserving as much of the spleen as possible. Stenting to preserve the splenic artery is also an option.

If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.

Keywords: splenic artery aneurysm; symptoms; causes; risk factors; treatment

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