How this asymptomatic heart condition raises risk of sudden cardiac death

Aortic aneurysms, which is often asymptomatic, is the third leading cause of sudden cardiac death, said experts on Sunday stressing the need for raising awareness on the fatal heart condition.

Aortic Aneurysms are the ballooning of the major blood vessel aorta, which carries blood from the heart to the whole body.

It affects approximately 2 to 3 per cent of the population, but the risk increases with certain factors like atherosclerosis (collection of cholesterol in the blood vessels), hypertension, and generic deficiency in certain patients.

“Aortic aneurysms represent a critical yet under-recognised health concern that ranks as the third leading cause of sudden cardiac death, trailing only behind heart attacks and cardiac arrests,” Niranjan Hiremath, a senior consultant cardiovascular and aortic surgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, said.

“When the aorta’s wall weakens, it can dilate to twice or even three times its normal diameter, creating a significant risk of sudden rupture, which can result in immediate death, or lead to aortic dissections, another severe complication,” he added.

In India, awareness about cardiac risks predominantly revolves around heart attacks and cardiac arrests, but the dangers posed by aortic aneurysms have not received comparable attention.

“The lack of awareness is concerning, especially considering that about 75 per cent of aortic aneurysms are asymptomatic and go undetected until they present a sudden, life-threatening emergency. These aneurysms are often discovered incidentally during examinations for other medical conditions,” Niranjan said.