The aorta is the largest artery in your body, and it carries oxygen-rich blood pumped out of, or away from your heart. Your aorta runs through your chest, where it is called the thoracic aorta. Once it reaches your abdomen, it is called the abdominal aorta. The abdominal aorta supplies blood to the lower part of the body. In the abdomen, just below the navel, the aorta splits into two branches, called the iliac arteries, which carry blood to each leg.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm, or AAA, is a balloon-like bulge in the abdominal aorta. The bulge forms a weak spot in the wall of the aorta. The pressure generated by each heartbeat, pushes against the weakened aortic wall, causing the aneurysm to enlarge. Ultimately, the aneurysm becomes so large, and its wall so weak, that rupture occurs. This can be fatal, due to massive bleeding.
Fortunately, especially when diagnosed early before it causes symptoms, or rupture, an AAA can be treated, or even cured, with highly effective and safe treatments.