His wife, Dr. Celine Gounder, revealed to CBS News on Wednesday that the famed soccer journalist died Friday at the World Cup in Qatar. ,
Gounder told “CBS Mornings” co-host Gayle King in her first interview since her husband’s death, “It’s one of these things that was likely to ripen over the years, and for whatever reason it happened at this time.” ” 49’s.
Gounder said in a note that the aortic aneurysm grew slowly and went undetected, and “no amount of CPR or shocks would have saved him.”
An aortic aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the aorta, the largest artery in the body — “like the trunk of all blood vessels,” said Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and CBS News medical contributor. An aortic aneurysm can “dissect” or — in Vahl’s case — rupture.
A rupture occurs when an aneurysm ruptures completely, causing life-threatening internal bleeding, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A dissection occurs when the blood being pumped splits the layers of the artery wall, resulting in blood leakage.
“Although aortic aneurysms do not directly cause death, complications resulting from aneurysms — such as dissection or rupture — account for approximately 15,000 deaths annually in the US”, says the Aortic Center at Columbia University. It notes that they are “more common in men over the age of 60.”
The Mayo Clinic states that aneurysms can develop anywhere along the aorta, but most commonly occur in the abdominal region, where they grow slowly and are difficult to detect.
“Some aneurysms never rupture,” says the Mayo Clinic. “Many start out small and stay small. Others grow up over time, sometimes quickly.”
Lifestyle and family history may play a role in the risk of aortic aneurysm, which is most commonly seen in men, people over age 65, smokers, and people with high blood pressure, as well as those with a family history of . Cleveland Clinic.
“Smoking is the single most important behavior related to aortic aneurysm,” the CDC says.
People are often unaware that they have one, as there are usually no symptoms until it bursts. Once this happens, someone may experience a rapid pulse, lightheadedness or dizziness, and severe and sudden back or stomach pain, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
When symptoms are present before rupture, they may include shortness of breath, feeling full even after a small meal, pain at the aneurysm site, swelling of the neck, face, or arms, as well as pain with swallowing.
According to the CDC, the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm in men aged 65 to 75 and who smoke.
The Mayo Clinic advises people to exercise, eat healthy, not smoke, and keep cholesterol and blood pressure under control to help prevent an aortic aneurysm or worsen an existing one.
“Earlier detection of an aortic aneurysm gives you the best chance for recovery,” says the Cleveland Clinic.