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What Are Signs of a Ruptured Artery?

By Nicole Long ; Updated July 27, 2017

Rupturing an artery is a serious medical condition that requires immediate medical attention. If the rupture occurs due to an aneurysm, which is a bulge in the artery, warning signs may come on suddenly. Aneurysms can go undetected for years with no symptoms until rupture occurs. Whether arising from an aneurysm or trauma, recognizing the warning signs of a ruptured artery can save your life.

Pain

Pain will be dependent on the location of the artery rupture. If the rupture occurs in the abdominal aorta, there will be a penetrating pain in your back, side and abdomen. When the thoracic aorta ruptures, pain will be experienced in the jaw, back, neck and chest. A ruptured artery in the brain can cause a severe headache, while a rupture in smaller arteries through the body can cause pain in extremities.

Nausea

After the artery ruptures a typical warning sign is nausea. Nausea can be so severe that it is accompanied with vomiting. Clammy skin and an overall sick-to-your-stomach feeling in conjuction with severe pain is a sign to seek immediate medical attention.

Lightheadedness

Lightheadedness can occur no matter what artery ruptures. As the blood rushes out of the vessel and away from the organs depending on it, dizziness results. Upon standing, a rapid heart beat may develop as your heart works harder to try to get the necessary blood to your body's extremities, brain and other organs.

Shock

A ruptured artery can quickly send a person into shock from the sudden loss of blood. Any signs of shock should be taken seriously. These include shallow breathing, unconsciousness, bluish coloring and moist skin. Immediate medical attention needs to be sought as shock can quickly turn fatal.

Stroke

A ruptured artery in the brain specifically results in a stroke. Some of the warning signs that may be associated with this specific type of rupture are sudden numbness in one side of the body, weakness in the face, sudden confusion and difficulty with sight in one or both eyes. A sudden severe headache and sudden trouble walking are also warning signs of a ruptured artery in the brain due to an aneurysm.

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