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What is aortic aneurysm, the cause of US journalist Grant Wahl's death at Qatar World Cup 2022?

Grant Wahl, the renowned US football journalist who passed away while covering the Qatar World Cup 2022, died due to an aortic aneurysm that ruptured, his wife said, putting conspiracy theories around his death to rest.

football What is aortic aneurysm, the cause of CBS Sports US journalist Grant Wahl death at Qatar World Cup 2022 snt
First Published Dec 15, 2022, 12:15 AM IST

Putting conspiracy theories of her husband's death at Qatar World Cup 2022, renowned US football journalist Grant Wahl's wife on Wednesday confirmed he died due to an aortic aneurysm that ruptured.

After falling in the press box while covering Friday's World Cup quarterfinal between Argentina and the Netherlands, Wahl passed away at 49. At the Lusail Stadium, he received medical attention, but paramedics could not revive him.

The American, who was covering his eighth World Cup, gained attention earlier in the tournament when he claimed he was turned away from a match because he was wearing a rainbow t-shirt supporting the LGBTQ+ community. In his event coverage, Wahl had also been critical of Qatar's human rights record and treatment of migrant labour.

In an interview with CBS, Wahl's wife, Dr Celine Gounder, reported that an autopsy was performed on Wahl's body before it was flown back to the United States on Monday to ascertain the cause of death. The rupture of a blood artery delivering oxygenated blood from the heart was found to be the cause of Wahl's death.

Also read: First Grant Wahl, now Khalid al-Misslam: Conspiracy theories rock Qatar World Cup after death of journalists

"He had an autopsy done here in New York by the New York City medical examiner's office, and it showed that he had an aortic aneurysm that ruptured," Gounder told CBS on Wednesday.

Gounder also wrote a post on Wahl's Substack blog, where she said there was "nothing nefarious about his death". She added: "I wanted to make sure the conspiracy theories about his death were put to rest."

Additionally, Wahl had written about his health issues while living in Qatar. He said he had gone to the hospital after feeling "pressure and soreness" in his upper chest. Gounder suggested that the chest pain Wahl had just before he passed away might have been the aortic aneurysm's early warning signs.

"No amount of CPR or shocks would have saved him," Gounder said. "His death was unrelated to Covid. His death was unrelated to vaccination status." Wahl's wife felt "relief" in knowing his cause of death.

football What is aortic aneurysm, the cause of CBS Sports US journalist Grant Wahl death at Qatar World Cup 2022 snt

All you need to know about aortic aneurysm

The big artery known as the aorta, which conducts blood from the heart through the chest and body, develops a balloon-like protrusion called an aortic aneurysm. 

Aortic aneurysms can dissect or rupture:

1. The arterial wall's layers may separate due to the stress of blood pumping, causing blood to seep in between them. The procedure is known as a dissection.

2. Aneurysms have the potential to burst entirely, resulting in internal bleeding. This is referred to as a rupture. 

3. Dissections and ruptures cause most aortic aneurysm deaths.

Also read: War of words erupts after US journalist Grant Wahl 'detained' at Qatar World Cup 2022 stadium over LGBTQ shirt

Facts and must-knows about aortic aneurysm:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 9,904 deaths in 2019 were attributable to aortic aneurysms or aortic dissections. Aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection deaths affected men 59% of the time in 2019. About 75% of all abdominal aortic aneurysms had a smoking history. 

Even if they have no symptoms, men 65 to 75 years old who have ever smoked should have an ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms, according to the US Preventive Services Task Force.

Your chance of developing an aortic aneurysm is also increased by illnesses and poor habits that harm your heart and blood vessels. The most significant behaviour concerning an aortic aneurysm is smoking. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Atherosclerosis are some other factors.

A few genetic connective tissue illnesses, such as     Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, can also increase the aortic aneurysm risk. The history of aortic aneurysms in your family may also increase your risk.

Medication and surgery are the two basic therapies for aortic aneurysms. Drugs can lower blood pressure and minimise the chance of developing an aortic aneurysm. The damaged area of the aorta can be replaced or repaired through surgery.

Also read: 'Homosexuality is haram': Qatar World Cup 2022 ambassador Khalid Salman's comments sparks boycott demands

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