Skip to Content

Menu Icon
Menu
Menu Icon

Symptoms of an Aneurysm

Topic Overview

It is normal to feel a throb at the site where you take a pulse to check your heart rate. As the heart forces blood through your body, you can feel a throbbing in the arteries wherever they come close to the skin surface, such as the wrist, neck, or upper arm.

An aneurysm is a bulging section in the wall of a blood vessel and causes a throbbing pulse where the blood vessel has become stretched out and thin. This area of the blood vessel bulges out, is weak, and may cause bleeding when it bursts or ruptures. Aneurysms most often affect the large artery in the chest and abdomen (aorta) and arteries that supply the brain, heart, and legs.

Although it is not unusual to have an aneurysm without other symptoms, common symptoms include:

  • Back pain or abdominal pain.
  • A pulsating lump in the abdomen.
  • A pulsating lump behind the knee or in the groin. The leg may turn pale and become swollen and blue.
  • Headache. Stroke may occur if an aneurysm in the brain bursts (ruptures).

Prompt evaluation and treatment can prevent an aneurysm from bursting. Death from loss of blood can occur quickly if an aneurysm bursts.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Current as of December 27, 2012

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.