Grant Wahl’s sudden death from an aortic aneurysm: What to know about the condition

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Well-respected sports journalist Grant Wahl died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm at age 49 on Dec. 10 While reporting on the World Cup in Qatar, his wife, Dr. Céline Gounder wrote in a note on Substack just a few days ago.

“An autopsy was performed by the New York City Medical Examiner’s Office,” wrote Gounder, an infectious disease specialist, on the online platform.

“Grant died from the rupture of a slowly growing, undetected ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium.”

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Hemopericardium is when blood accumulates in the sac surrounding the heart, which can lead the heart to stop beating.

During the World Cup quarterfinal match between Argentina and the Netherlands in overtime, Wahl went into distress, according to multiple reports.

Grant Wahl, 48, in two different images.  He was in Qatar covering the World Cup when he passed away suddenly.

Grant Wahl, 48, in two different images. He was in Qatar covering the World Cup when he passed away suddenly.

The paramedics were called immediately but could not revive him before he was transferred to Hamad General Hospital by ambulance, per multiple news outlets.

He had previously complained in the days before of chest pressure, according to multiple reports.

“We had no idea Grant carried this inside his body.”

His family is trying to raise more awareness about the condition.

“Tall, lanky guys with long arm-spans & long, narrow fingers, &/or if you have/had pectus excavatum: please get a heart-specific health check-up,” his brother Eric Wahl recently wrote on Twitter.

“We had no idea Grant carried this inside his body.”

He added, “Get checked for Marfan syndrome as well.”

What is an aortic aneurysm?

“Aneurysms refer to an outpouching or bulging of a blood vessel, where it has enlarged and its walls have weakened, making it more prone to rupture, or burst,” Dr. Deepak L. Bhatt, director of Mount Sinai Heart in New York City, told Fox News Digital.

He was not involved in the care of Grant Wahl.

A thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs in the chest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs in the chest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
(iStock)

So he discussed aortic aneurysms in general terms and not regarding a specific case or care.

“If this happens in a major blood vessel such as the aorta — the main blood vessel exiting the heart and supplying blood to the rest of the body — it is most often a fatal event,” added Bhatt, who’s also a professor of cardiovascular medicine. at Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.

Thoracic aortic aneurysm

The aorta is the main artery that leaves the left side of the heart that travels through the chest and abdomen to deliver blood to the rest of the body, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

A thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs in the chest, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Typical symptoms are sudden chest pain or back pain, or trouble breathing.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms are usually caused by high blood pressure or a sudden injury.

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Yet inherited connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, can predispose people to having this condition, too, per the CDC.

The condition becomes more common as people get older.

Typical symptoms are sudden chest pain or back pain, or trouble breathing.

“For people having severe chest discomfort, this is one of the reasons to call 911 and get evaluated in an emergency room,” said one physician.
(iStock)

“For people having severe chest discomfort, this is one of the reasons to call 911 and get evaluated in an emergency room,” Bhatt added.

Abdominal aortic aneurysm

An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs below the diaphragm, which is the more common type, according to the CDC.

These types are more common in men, in people who are older than 65 and among White people compared to Black people.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are usually caused by hardened arteries, but infection or injury can also cause them.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms are usually caused by hardened arteries, but infection or injury can also cause them, per the CDC.

Most patients don’t have any symptoms with this condition, although some will complain of severe back pain, deep pain on the side or pain in the buttocks, groin or legs.

Dissection versus rupture

An aortic aneurysm can be thought of as a “bubble or balloon” in the aortic wall that can develop into a dissection or rupture.

A dissection occurs when the force of blood splits the layers of the artery wall, causing blood to leak between them, the CDC added.

“While heart attacks are a more common cause of death, ruptured aneurysms are also an important cause of death from cardiovascular causes, albeit much less frequent.”
(iStock)

When an aortic aneurysm bursts, it is called a rupture.

This leads to bleeding inside the body, the agency noted.

The two main treatments for aortic aneurysms are medication and surgery, depending on the location of the tear and the other organs affected.

Most people die from aortic aneurysms due either to a dissection or rupture, the CDC noted on its website.

“Rupture of an aortic aneurysm is most often associated with severe chest discomfort,” Bhatt added.

Grant Wahl

Grant Wahl “died from the rupture of a slowly growing, undetected ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium,” his wife shared online.
(Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Budweiser)

“While heart attacks are a more common cause of death, ruptured aneurysms are also an important cause of death from cardiovascular causes, albeit much less frequent.”

Aortic aneurysm facts

Aortic aneurysms or dissections were the cause of nearly 10,000 deaths in 2019, with 59% of these occurring in men, according to the CDC.

Smoking is the main risk factor for this disease, with 75% of those with abdominal aortic aneurysms having a history of smoking, per the CDC.

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“The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men 65 to 75 years old who have ever smoked should get an ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms, even if they have no symptoms,” the CDC added on its website.

Treatment for aortic aneurysm

The two main treatments for aortic aneurysms are medication and surgery, depending on the location of the tear and the other organs affected, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

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Blood pressure medications are often used to decrease the blood pressure while surgery repairs or replaces the area of ​​the aorta that is damaged, per the CDC.

Originally published at Source

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