Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

What are Iliac Arteries and What is Iliac Artery Aneurysm?

The iliac arteries are basically extensions of the abdominal aorta. As the abdominal aorta progresses downwards into the abdomen, it divides into two large arteries. These arteries are known as common iliac arteries and there are two such arteries, one on each side of the lower abdomen. Their function is to provide blood supply to the lower abdomen, pelvic region and both lower extremities. Although aneurysm in iliac artery does occur in some patients, it is a relatively uncommon condition. An aneurysm is basically bulging and weakness of the arterial wall. An aneurysm can occur in any artery, but mostly develops in the aorta. Dissection of the artery is basically a longitudinal tear in the arterial wall, which causes blood to flow in between the layers of the artery. The most common symptom of dissection is excruciating abdominal pain. Dissecting iliac artery aneurysm can be managed and treated by making certain lifestyle changes, closely monitoring the patient and conducting a surgery to repair the aneurysm.

Dissecting Common Iliac Artery Aneurysm

What Are The Causes Of Dissecting Common Iliac Artery Aneurysm?

Dissecting aneurysm of common iliac artery is an uncommon health condition. Many causes can lead to aneurysm of the iliac artery. Some of the most common causes are:

Atherosclerosis Of The Common Iliac Artery: Atherosclerosis is a condition wherein the inner wall of the artery narrows down due to accumulation of cholesterol, which shapes into a plaque and causes dissecting iliac artery aneurysm.

Trauma to the lower back, hip or the lower abdomen can trigger dissecting aneurysm of common iliac artery. The trauma can also occur during any surgery performed in the lower back region.

Men, smokers, and ones with health issues like high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol level, and people aged over 50 years face a greater risk of developing common iliac artery aneurysm.

Genetic disorders like Marfan syndrome, ED syndrome, connective tissue disorders can also lead to dissecting common iliac artery aneurysm.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dissecting Common Iliac Artery Aneurysm?

The symptoms of dissecting common iliac artery aneurysm may start to appear gradually or can manifest suddenly. Whenever it happens, this condition is life threatening and needs immediate medical attention. The most common symptoms which a patient experiences in case of dissecting common iliac artery aneurysm is dull pain in the lower abdomen or lower back region. The pain can increase and decrease alternatively from time to time. Pain in dissecting common iliac artery aneurysm can last for few minutes or even persist for few hours depending on factors like the severity and the size of aneurysm.

In majority of the cases of dissecting iliac artery aneurysm, the pain is sharp, sudden and shooting. This condition is characterized with a tear in the inner wall of the common iliac artery. Some patients have even experienced this as a feeling of something getting ripped inside the abdomen. Dissection of iliac artery aneurysm can eventually cause the blood vessel to rupture leading to profuse hemorrhage. Due to the dissection of iliac artery aneurysm, some amount of blood leaks into the ripped layers of the vessel wall and surrounding tissues. This blocks the adequate supply of blood to the extremities. As optimal amount of blood does not reach lower extremities resulting in symptoms like tingling and numbness in the extremities while walking and bending; along with weakness in the legs.

How is Dissecting Common Iliac Artery Aneurysm Treated?

Dissecting common iliac artery aneurysm is a potentially fatal condition. There are chances of rupture of the aneurysm which can trigger excessive bleeding from the affected area leading to mortality. Hence, once the condition is diagnosed, the patient should be hospitalized immediately and treatment should be administered right away. The main form of treatment for Dissecting Common Iliac Artery Aneurysm is Surgery. Usually the torn area of the iliac artery is surgically removed and replaced with a synthetic graft. Post recovery from dissecting common iliac artery aneurysm, it is very important for the patient to take certain precautions and make changes in their lifestyle. Patients should quit smoking, control their blood pressure, keep cholesterol levels in check and maintain a healthy body weight. With timely diagnosis and treatment along with proper care and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the patients of dissecting common iliac artery aneurysm can get healthy in no time.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: March 22, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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