What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Dissecting Iliac Artery Aneurysm?

The iliac artery is a major artery found in both legs, branching off the aorta in the lower abdomen to serve as the major blood supply to the pelvis and each leg. In turn, each of the iliac arteries branch off into smaller arteries that serve the entire lower extremities. An aneurysm is a term used to describe a section of artery wall that has ballooned or widened outward, caused by weak artery walls, according to Stanford Medicine. Understanding the signs and symptoms of an iliac artery aneurysm may help you seek prompt and effective medical care.

Understand the signs and symptoms of a dissecting iliac aneurysm. (Image: JFalcetti/iStock/Getty Images)

Dull Abdominal Pain

An iliac aneurysm may cause symptoms such as lower abdominal pain, according to the University of Chicago. You may also feel pain in the lower back or in the groin. This pain may be felt as dull and throbbing. The pain may appear, then disappear. It may last for minutes or longer, and each scenario may be different, depending on the size and severity of the aneurysm. You should know that some aneurysms are asymptomatic, which means you may not experience any symptoms at all.

Sudden, Sharp Pain

A dissecting aneurysm can be a life-threatening condition as the interior walls of the artery tear, more commonly known in the medical world as a dissection or rupture. This tearing has also been likened as a "ripping" feeling by many who have experienced such pain. The pain is sudden and sharp. Get to a hospital immediately.

Numbness or Tingling

An aneurysm is commonly caused by some type of artery disease process, such as arteriosclerosis, or blockage of arteries. Any time an artery is blocked, oxygenated blood may not reach all areas of the body. In the case of the iliac artery, which supplies the pelvis and legs, you may experience sensations of cold in the affected leg. Your pelvis or leg may feel numb and may hurt when you're walking or sitting, bending down or twisting.

Lack of Adequate Blood Flow

Because the dissecting artery causes a tear in the inner walls of the artery, it often leaks blood which may accumulate in the vessel and surrounding tissues, blocking adequate blood flow to the extremity, according to Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. This may cause a sensation of tingling or numbness, which is often combined with pain. Sudden loss of oxygen transported by blood to the extremity may cause weakness of the leg or inability to use it.

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