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Question:

Are aortic aneurysms hereditary?

My father died from an aortic aneurysm. Can this condition be hereditary? At 50, should I be having any kind of testing?

Submitted by Kim from Texas on 05/11/2016

Dear Kim,
Aneurysms can occur in families. About 10% of people with an abdominal aneurysm have a positive family history. This is the most common location in over 50% of aneurysms and it can be screened quite well with an abdominal ultrasound. Aneurysms can be found in the chest, legs, brain, and other arteries less frequently. Other sources of aneurysms particularly in younger patients can be traced to connective tissue disorders. Marfan’s syndrome is the most recognized of these which causes death in young adults and often in athletes. Your family physician can screen you for risk factors (hypertension and smoking) and family history and order the appropriate tests.