World Cup Journalist Grant Wahl Died from Aortic Aneurysm: What to Know

  • Journalist Grant Wahl died this week after collapsing in Qatar.
  • His spouse Dr. Celine Gounder stated that his loss of life was attributable to an aortic aneurysm.
  • The situation happens when the aorta weakens and results in a ballon-like bulge that may be harmful.

Grant Wahl, the American soccer reporter who collapsed whereas overlaying the World Cup in Qatar final week, died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm at age 49, his spouse, Dr. Celine Gounder instructed CBS.

This situation had seemingly been growing for years, she stated, with the preliminary signs occurring shortly earlier than his loss of life.

Listed below are the highest issues to find out about aortic aneurysms, which prompted about 10,000 deaths in 2019 based on the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.

An aortic aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge within the aorta, the primary artery that carries oxygen-rich blood from the center to the mind and the remainder of the physique.

The wall of the aorta is thick, which permits it to resist the stress current when the center pumps blood by means of this vessel.

Nevertheless, “when the wall of the aorta will get weaker, the stress inside will push the wall out — inflicting an aortic aneurysm,” stated Dr. Sanjiv Patel, a board-certified interventional heart specialist at MemorialCare Coronary heart & Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Heart in Fountain Valley, Calif.

Genetic situations, medical situations, trauma, and different components can weaken the partitions of the aorta.

Aortic aneurysms might be labeled into two sorts:

  • Thoracic aortic aneurysm: happens alongside the a part of the aorta that runs by means of the chest.
  • Stomach aortic aneurysm: happens alongside the a part of the aorta that runs by means of the abdomen space. This sort is extra widespread.

If an aneurysm grows giant sufficient, it may well rupture or tear (dissection) the artery wall.

“Each of those issues are related to a excessive danger of dying,” stated Patel. “So if there’s a tear or rupture of the aorta, it turns into an emergency state of affairs.”

Folks with an aortic aneurysm could not have any signs till it’s giant sufficient to push on and have an effect on different components of the physique.

“Aortic aneurysms mostly are discovered by the way, comparable to when [a person is] present process imaging for a unique cause,” stated Dr. Christine Montesa, a board-certified cardiothoracic surgeon at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Heart in Pomona, Calif. “It’s because they’re often asymptomatic.”

When an aneurysm does trigger signs, it’s typically when there’s a rupture or tear of the aorta, she stated.

Patel stated the signs will depend upon the placement of an aortic aneurysm. For instance, an aneurysm within the chest may cause issue respiratory, or chest or higher again ache. In distinction, an aneurysm within the stomach may cause sudden stomach ache or weak spot within the legs.

Signs of an aortic aneurysm could embody:

  • Ache when swallowing or issue swallowing
  • Issue respiratory or shortness of breath
  • A sense of fullness even after not consuming very a lot
  • Hoarseness
  • Ache within the jaw, neck, shoulder, chest, again or abdomen
  • Throbbing or pulsing feeling within the abdomen space
  • Swelling of the face, neck or arms

Patel stated people who find themselves discovered to have an aortic aneurysm have to be monitored over time to see how the aneurysm is altering.

“If it’s rising slowly over years, however will get to a sure dimension, then you might want surgical procedure. If it’s rising shortly over a brief span, you may additionally want surgical procedure,” he stated. “Each of those conditions counsel instability within the aneurysm.”

If in case you have been identified with an aortic aneurysm, search medical assist instantly when you’ve got signs of a rupture, which embody:

  • Gentle-headedness
  • Speedy coronary heart price
  • Sudden, extreme ache within the chest, again or abdomen space

Sure components improve your danger of growing an aortic aneurysm. Patel stated individuals with a number of of those danger components could have to be checked by their physician for an aortic aneurysm.


Folks over age 65 have the next danger of an stomach aortic aneurysm.

Household historical past

Folks with a detailed member of the family — comparable to a mum or dad, brother, sister or youngster — who’ve an stomach aortic aneurysm are at better danger of growing one themselves.

As a result of aortic aneurysms typically don’t trigger signs till they’re bigger or there are issues, “it is vitally vital to know your loved ones historical past,” stated Montesa.

“If somebody in your loved ones died out of the blue, or has a historical past of an aortic aneurysm and even aneurysms in different places, endure screening if needed,” she stated. “Share this info along with your main physician, as nicely.”


A number of genetic situations improve the chance of growing a thoracic aortic aneurysm, together with:

  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Loeys-Dietz syndrome
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Turner syndrome
  • Familial thoracic aortic aneurysms
  • Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), or irregular aortic valve

Some individuals carry a gene for considered one of these situations, however have no idea till they’ve a genetic take a look at accomplished.

Way of life habits

Sure life-style habits improve the chance of growing an aortic aneurysm, together with:

  • Cigarette smoking will increase the chance of an aortic aneurysm, particularly one within the stomach. “Smoking can have an effect on all the aorta,” stated Patel, “as a result of it may well trigger irritation within the aorta, which might injury the partitions.”
  • Stimulants comparable to cocaine improve the chance of getting an aortic aneurysm by elevating your blood stress.

Medical situations

Sure medical situations improve the chance of aortic aneurysms, together with:

  • Aneurysms of blood vessels in different components of the physique
  • Power obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD)
  • Cardiovascular situations, comparable to atherosclerosis, coronary coronary heart illness and peripheral artery illness
  • Unhealthy blood ldl cholesterol degree
  • Hypertension
  • Bacterial infections
  • Kidney situations, comparable to continual kidney illness, renal failure and polycystic kidney illness
  • Weight problems
  • Pheochromocytoma, a uncommon tumor of the adrenal gland
  • Trauma, comparable to from falls or automotive accidents
  • Vasculitis, which is irritation of the blood vessels


Males have the next danger than ladies of growing an aortic aneurysm. Nevertheless, ladies usually tend to have an present aneurysm rupture at a smaller dimension.

Race and ethnicity

Stomach aortic aneurysms are extra widespread in white individuals than in African Individuals, Asians and Hispanic individuals.

Small aortic aneurysms can typically be managed with wholesome life-style modifications to sluggish the expansion of the aneurysm. This may occasionally embody treating different medical situations that improve the chance of rupture or dissection.

In some circumstances, comparable to for big aneurysms, your physician could advocate surgical procedure.

Wholesome life-style modifications embody:

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a heart-healthy weight loss plan to assist decrease hypertension and preserve wholesome levels of cholesterol
  • Handle stress
  • Get common average bodily exercise. Patel stated when you’ve got an present aortic aneurysm, you must keep away from heavy weightlifting, which might improve the blood stress within the aorta.

Drugs could also be advisable by your physician to deal with medical situations that improve the chance of aortic aneurysm. These embody:

  • Aspirin to decrease cardiovascular dangers
  • Blood stress medicines
  • Statins to regulate levels of cholesterol

Surgical procedure could also be advisable by your physician to restore a bigger aortic aneurysm or one that’s rising shortly. A rupture or dissection could require emergency surgical procedure.

“Outcomes for sufferers present process elective restore [for an aortic aneurysm] are a lot better than if the aneurysm is found after issues develop, comparable to dissection or rupture,” stated Montesa.

“Most significantly, hearken to your physique,” she stated. “Don’t ignore or brush off signs should you’re not feeling nicely. Be your individual finest advocate!”

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