A pulmonary aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of the pulmonary artery. The aneurysm causes a weak spot to develop that could endanger a person's life if the bulge bursts. A pulmonary aneurysm is a serious medical condition that has warning signs.
Breathing difficulties or shortness of breath can begin when the artery starts to leak, then bursts and causes blood to go into the lungs. This may also be accompanied by chest pain. As the lungs fill with blood, breathing may become more labored. Other signs of a pulmonary aneurysm include weakness and difficulty moving around. A bulging pulmonary artery can also press on the laryngeal nerve, causing hoarseness, according to an article in the Indian Journal of Radiology and Imaging.
Causes of a pulmonary aneurysm vary. In some cases, a congenital defect in the pulmonary artery might gradually wear away at the artery and worsen as time goes on. Surgery or a medical procedure that causes an injury or defect in the pulmonary artery might also later lead to an aneurysm.
Symptoms from a pulmonary aneurysm can come on quickly. Once a pulmonary aneurysm ruptures, it can cause sudden weakness and loss of consciousness. A person may suffer a sudden reduction in blood pressure due to internal bleeding. He may not have time to call for help before he is incapacitated.
A pulmonary aneurysm is sometimes found during a chest X-ray or CT scan to look for another condition. If a physician is particularly keen, however, she may associate symptoms a patient has with a pulmonary aneurysm. Identification must be made quickly if the aneurysm is very weak or in case it has started leaking.
If the pulmonary aneurysm is not serious, or if the person is not having any symptoms, a physician may choose to wait and watch the artery. If the artery has started to leak, emergency surgery may be needed to repair the pulmonary artery. If the wall of the artery has weakened, but not ruptured, a physician may recommend a stent be placed to strengthen the artery wall.