Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

Today we will share with you information pertaining to Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms:

A Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm is an expansion, or ballooning, of a section of the aorta within your chest (thorax) that slowly degenerates. The aorta, the body’s main blood vessel, starts at your heart and extends all the way to your pelvis, where it branches toward your legs. The larger the aneurysm, the higher the risk it may rupture, leading to damage of the aortic wall and bleeding that could cause death.

As listed in the Patient Guide of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons website:

Many factors potentially can contribute to the development of an aortic aneurysm, and it’s often difficult to determine the exact cause. Some of the most common conditions associated with aneurysm formation are:

-Congenital or genetic causes for weakness of the artery wall (present from birth)                                        -Changes in your aorta due to advanced age                                                                                                                   -Connective tissue disorders such as Marfan or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome                                                            -Inflammation of your aorta                                                                                                                                                  -Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) where fat, cholesterol,  and other substances (plaque) clog your arteries                                                                                                                                                                                -Injury from falls or motor vehicle accidents                                                                                                                  -Untreated infection such as syphilis or salmonella                                                                                                     -In some cases, aneurysms run in families and are classified as “familial”, so several members of extended families may be affected by aneurysms in different locations.

Often, thoracic aortic aneurysms do not cause any symptoms because they usually develop slowly over time. However, if the aneurysm is big enough to put pressure on surrounding structures within your chest, you may experience symptoms such as:                                                                                                      -Hoarseness                                                                                                                                                                                  -Trouble swallowing                                                                                                                                                                  -Swelling in your neck                                                                                                                                                              -Pain in your chest or upper back                                                                                                                                        -Nausea and vomiting                                                                                                                                                              -Rapid heart rate

To view informational videos by Emily A. Farkas M.D., additional information regarding diagnosis/treatment and a link to a PDF with amazing questions to ask your physician when diagnosed with a Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm, please visit: https://ctsurgerypatients.org/adult-heart-disease/thoracic-aortic-aneurysm

 

Gregg Greenberg