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Aortic Disease

Your aorta, the largest artery in your body, carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Certain conditions can weaken your aorta and become life-threatening.

What is aortic disease?

Aortic disease is caused when the main artery supplying blood to your heart weakens. One type, aneurysms, is a weakening that allows blood to collect, causing the wall of the aorta to bulge — and potentially burst. Another, a dissection, is a tear in the inner layer of the aorta, which allows blood to flow between the layers of the artery wall. Aortic disease is an inherited condition, so your family members may be at greater risk.

Any tear or burst is an emergency and requires immediate surgery.

Aortic disease symptoms

You should see your doctor right away if you feel:

  • Sudden severe chest pain or abdominal pain that radiates to your back.
  • Faint, or if you lose consciousness.

Aortic disease care at AHN: Why choose us? 

Our physicians are experts at caring for patients with aortic diseases and other conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. At the Cardiovascular Institute, you can expect:

  • Advanced treatments for complex cases: We use minimally invasive heart surgery techniques for patients who have health complications that make conventional open-heart surgery too risky.
  • A comprehensive program: We’re leaders in offering cutting-edge surgical techniques, heart devices, and other therapies. Via the Cardiovascular Research Institute, you have access to new treatments still in the clinical trial phase.
  • A dedicated team approach: At the AHN Aortic Disease Clinic, you receive innovative, coordinated care from a team of heart specialists from different areas of expertise, all in one location. They work together to develop a personalized, streamlined treatment plan that meets your unique needs.

How we diagnose

You’ll meet with our specialists as soon as your aortic disease is first detected. We start by using MRI, CTA, and echocardiology imaging to see what’s happening inside your aorta. Our imaging equipment is right in our office, so you don’t have to wait elsewhere in the hospital.

How we treat

Our experts work as a team to build a treatment plan specific to your condition and needs. We use minimally invasive techniques whenever we can, so you have a faster recovery with less pain. Our treatment options include:

  • Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR): It’s a minimally invasive procedure. Your physician uses a catheter to place a mesh tube called a stent-graft at the aneurysm or tear. The stent-graph reinforces the aortic wall and diverts blood flow away from the aneurysm or dissection. If the aneurysm is in the upper part of your chest, or thoracic area, you’ll undergo a thoracic EVAR (TEVAR).
  • Open repair: It’s an open-heart procedure. Your surgeon makes a long incision in the abdomen to access the aneurysm or tear, then sews the stent-graft into place.

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment to see a specialist at the AHN Aortic Disease Clinic.