Most people are unaware that they have an aneurysm because in most cases they grow slowly and without symptoms. Most of the times an aortic aneurysm will be discovered incidentally by an x-ray, a computed tomography scan (CT scan), or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that was done for other conditions.
Symptoms of a thoracic aneurysm may be related to the location, size, and growth rate of the aneurysm.
As thoracic aortic aneurysm grows symptoms may include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Pain in the chest and/or back and/or neck and jaw
• Cough or shortness of breath as a result of pressure on the trachea (windpipe)
• Hoarseness as a result of pressure on the vocal cords
• Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) due to pressure on the esophagus
The symptoms of a thoracic aortic aneurysm may resemble other medical conditions (e.g. peptic ulcer, gastroesophageal reflux, constipation, coronary angina), that is why you should always consult your vascular surgeon for more information.
Acute, severe onset of pain in the chest or back associated with a thoracic aneurysm may be a sign of a life-threatening medical emergency (aortic aneurysm rupture).
Another relatively rare symptom is a cold painful foot, or a blue painful toe which can happen due to blood clots generated within the diseased bulging aortic segment, dislodging, migrating and blocking the blood stream towards the foot or toe (embolization).