JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Aortic aneurysm. Ultrasound scan of the abdominal aortic artery in a middle-aged man, showing an aneurysm (artery ballooning). At centre is the swollen area of the artery (dark) with its normal diameter seen on either side. White index marks on the screen measure the artery diameter so that further checks can be made over time. Aortic aneurysm is a blood-filled swelling in the wall of the aorta, the main artery passing blood from the heart to the lower body. It is due to weakening of the artery wall from disease such as athero- sclerosis (fatty deposits) or may be inherited. If untreated by surgery, an aortic aneurysm may rupture with fatal consequences.
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