Visceral Artery Aneurysms 

Visceral artery aneurysms develop in the arteries responsible for supplying blood to the intra-abdominal organs.  

A visceral artery aneurysm is a type of peripheral aneurysm (one that affects an artery other than the aorta). Visceral artery aneurysms develop in the arteries that supply blood to the intra-abdominal organs, including the: 

  • Hepatic artery, which carries blood to the liver 
  • Mesenteric arteries, which carry blood to the intestines 
  • Renal arteries, which carry blood to the kidneys 
  • Splenic artery, which carries blood to the spleen 

Causes of Visceral Artery Aneurysms 

Researchers are still working to determine what causes a visceral artery aneurysm to form. However, studies suggest that the following risk factors can increase the chances of developing this condition: 

  • Atherosclerosis (the narrowing and hardening of the arteries due to plaque buildup) 
  • Connective tissue disorders 
  • Trauma 
  • Infection 
  • Abdominal surgery A family history of visceral artery aneurysms 

Symptoms of Visceral Artery Aneurysms 

A visceral artery aneurysm can cause stomach and back pain when it exerts pressure on the surrounding tissues. Additional symptoms will vary depending on the type of artery that’s affected. For example, if an aneurysm develops in one of the renal arteries—which are responsible for carrying blood to the kidneys—it may disrupt kidney function and lead to high blood pressure (renovascular hypertension). 

Diagnosing Visceral Artery Aneurysms 

If a physician suspects the presence of a visceral artery aneurysm, he or she may order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as: 

  • Computed tomography (CT) scans 
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans 
  • Ultrasounds 
  • X-rays

Treatment for Visceral Artery Aneurysms 

When determining how to treat a visceral artery aneurysm, the specialists at Tampa General Hospital will consider: 

  • Where the aneurysm is located 
  • The size of the aneurysm 
  • How far the condition has already progressed 
  • The patient’s overall health 

If a visceral artery aneurysm is small and the patient isn’t experiencing any symptoms, treatment might be limited to monitoring the aneurysm for signs of change using periodic imaging tests. If additional treatment is required, it may include: 

  • Medication to lower blood pressure or cholesterol levels 
  • Thrombolysis 
  • Surgery 

Notably, if a visceral artery aneurysm ruptures, it can be a life-threatening condition requiring emergency treatment.