A thoracic aortic aneurysm is a weakened aorta in the chest area. This occurs when the diameter of the artery splits in half. They rarely present themselves with symptoms and typically only show any signs when they are ruptured.
Symptoms of a ruptured thoracic aortic aneurysm
The aorta is a vessel that runs from the heart, chest, and belly area. If an aneurysm occurs in the chest, it is called a thoracic aortic aneurysm. Causes of a thoracic aortic aneurysm include:
Atherosclerosis (Hardening of the arteries) Plaque buildup on artery walls causes the arteries to become less flexible. Any extra pressure can cause the arteries to weaken and widen. Atherosclerosis is more common in older people, and high blood pressure and high cholesterol increase the risk.
Genetic conditions: If a younger person has a thoracic aortic aneurysm, it is likely to be caused by a genetic condition. For example, Marfan syndrome affects the connective tissue in the body and can cause weakness in the wall of the aorta. Other conditions include
Blood vessel inflammation: Inflammation of your blood vessels weaken the walls of the aorta. Conditions such as giant cell arteritis and Takayasu arteritis are associated with thoracic aortic aneurysms.
Irregular aortic valve: Between the lower left heart chamber and the aorta is the aortic valve. A regular aortic valve has three flaps. Some people are born with three flaps, which increases the risk of a thoracic aneurysm.
Untreated infection: An untreated infection such as syphilis or salmonella can develop into a thoracic aortic aneurysm. Although it is very rare, it can happen.
Traumatic Injury: Although it is rare, people who are injured in harsh falls or motor crashes can develop a thoracic aortic aneurysm.
Rupturing and Dissection is when the layers of the aortic wall tear, causing the blood being pumped to the rest of your body to stop. When a rupturing occurs, the blood leaks out from the aorta due to a large aneurysm to burst.
A thoracic aortic aneurysm is typically diagnosed by:
Open chest surgery: This involves removing part of the aorta damaged by the aneurysm. The section of the aorta is replaced by a graft, which is sewn into place. Recovery can take a month or more.
Aortic root surgery: This is an open-chest surgery that treats an enlarged section of the aorta to prevent a rupture. A surgeon will remove a part of the aorta or sometimes the aortic valve and replace it with a graft.
Endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR): A surgeon will insert a thin, flexible tube into the blood vessel through the groin and guide it to the aorta. A graft on the end of the catheter is placed at the aneurysm site, held together by small hooks and pins. The weakened section of the aorta is reinforced by the graft to prevent rupture of the aneurysm. This procedure allows for a quicker recovery but can not be done for everyone.
Emergency surgery: If your thoracic aortic aneurysm ruptures, if it requires emergency open chest surgery. This is risky and has a higher chance of complications. It is very important to identify and treat thoracic aortic aneurysms before they rupture with lifelong health checkups and appropriate preventative surgery.
Copyright © 2020 Vascular Surgical Specialists, PLLC - All Rights Reserved.