AHN Aortic Disease Program

AHN's Aortic Disease Program offers coordinated care from a team of specialists for those with conditions affecting the aorta, including aortic dissection or aneurysm, and others.

What is aortic disease?

The aorta is the main artery that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body. In aortic disease, the aorta is either damaged or doesn’t work properly. Aortic disease can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as:

Aortic aneurysm

This a balloon-like bulge in the aorta. There are three types of aortic aneurysms:

Abdominal aortic aneurysms

This is the most common aneurysm of the aorta and is characterized as an enlarged area in the abdominal aorta walls, caused by increased blood pressure. Learn more about abdominal aortic aneurysms.

Cerebral aneurysms

These are bulging vessels above the aorta, in the brain.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms

These develop in the part of the aorta that passes through the chest.

Aortic dissection

A tear in the inner layer of the aorta, causing blood to rush through the opening and split the aorta.

Symptoms of aortic disease

Symptoms for aortic disease may not be present for many years in most people. Common signs may include:

  • Heart murmur.
  • Chest pain or tightness.
  • Low appetite.
  • Inability to gain weight.
  • Dizziness or fainting.
  • Fatigue.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Shortness of breath when exercising or lying down.

Treatment and care for aortic disease

Aortic disease treatment often involves surgical procedures, such as endovascular surgery, hybrid aortic repair, hypothermic circulatory arrest, open aortic repair, and minimally invasive procedures. Lifestyle changes patients will need to maintain include:

  • Regular exercise.
  • Eating a healthy diet.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Blood pressure optimization.
  • Blood sugar management.

"Stent graphs can be done under local anesthesia with some sedation, in one of our hybrid rooms which has state-of-the-art imaging."

    Bart Chess, MD — Vascular Surgery

About the Aortic Disease Program

We offer comprehensive personalized care, tailored to each patient’s unique situation, from an entire team of doctors. Our highly experienced specialists work quickly to determine the best way to treat aneurysms and monitor those with genetic conditions that increase risk for aortic diseases, including:

  • Connective tissue disorders like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Turner syndrome.
  • Genetic conditions like Marfan syndrome and Loeys-Dietz syndrome.
  • Those with a family history of aortic disease or connective tissue disorders.

Aortic disease care at AHN: Why choose us?

We bring together highly skilled doctors from several medical specialties in one location. Our patients choose us because of our:


Our team of aortic disease specialists includes cardiac and vascular surgeons, aortic pathologists, cardiologists, and radiologists who use the most advanced technologies to identify aortic conditions, and the latest methods to treat them. 

Our aortic disease specialists include:

Scott Halbreiner, MD

Scott Halbreiner, MD

Surgical Director of Aortic Center

Michael Popeck, MD

Michael Popeck, MD

Medical Director of Aortic Center

Bart A Chess, MD

Bart A Chess, MD

Vascular Surgeon

Satish C Muluk, MD

Satish C Muluk, MD

Vascular Surgeon

Masaki Tsukashita, MD

Masaki Tsukashita, MD

Cardiac Surgeon

Timothy Mickus, MD

Timothy Mickus, MD


Jeffrey Mueller, MD

Jeffrey Mueller, MD



We have dedicated advanced imaging for fast testing and results. This means our patients have all their imaging and meet with all of the appropriate specialists in one visit.


Patients meet with several different specialists to help determine the best way to treat their conditions. Plus, our specialists meet with each other to review the progress of our patients, making sure all treatment options are considered.

Customized treatment plans

We recommend treatments based on each patient’s individual situation. Some aneurysms aren’t large enough for surgery, so we’ll monitor those patients very closely with periodic checkups. If an aneurysm does reach a certain size, we can perform minimally invasive surgery to repair them before emergency surgery becomes necessary in the future. We also recommend lifestyle changes and use new therapies and medications that may slow down aneurysm growth for years and help avoid surgery altogether.

Contact us


If you have not been formally diagnosed yet, call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 to schedule an appointment with a general cardiologist to be evaluated.

Seeking a second opinion

If you’re already diagnosed with an aortic disease and you are seeking a second opinion, call 412-359-8820 to schedule a consultation with our Aortic Disease Program.

Connect with the Aortic Disease Program

To schedule a consultation with our Aortic Disease Program, call 412-359-8820 and connect with our program coordinator.

Scheduling a procedure

If you have a referral to schedule a procedure, contact the team at the facility where you want to have the procedure completed:

Allegheny General Hospital
320 East North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(412) 359-8820

Forbes Hospital
2570 Haymaker Road
Monroeville, PA 15146

(412) 858-7088

Jefferson Hospital
565 Coal Valley Road
Jefferson Hills, PA 15025

(412) 469-7900

Saint Vincent Hospital
232 West 25th Street
Erie, PA 16544

(814) 453-7767