Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm
A thoracic aortic aneurysm is a weakened and bulging area in the upper part of the aorta, the major blood vessel that feeds blood to the body. The aorta, about the thickness of a garden hose, runs from your heart through the center of your chest and abdomen. Because the aorta is the body’s main supplier of blood, a ruptured thoracic aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding. Although you may never have symptoms, finding out that you have a thoracic aortic aneurysm can be frightening.
The exact causes of thoracic aortic aneurysms are unknown, but factors that can contribute to an aneurysm, development include
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
- Connective tissue diseases Or the Marian syndrome, a genetic condition that affects the connective tissue in the body, are particular, at risk of a thoracic aortic aneurysm
- Besides Marian syndrome, other connective tissue diseases, such as Ehlers-Danlos and Loeys-Dieft syndromes, can contribute to a thoracic aortic aneurysm. Ehlers-¬Danlos syndrome causes your skin, joints and connective tissue to be fragile and makes your skin stretch easily.
- Problems with your heart’s valves
- Untreated infections. Though not a common cause of thoracic aortic aneurysm, you're more likely to develop this condition if you've had an untreated infection, such as syphilis or salmonella
- Traumatic injury. Some people who are injured in falls or motor vehicle crashes develop thoracic aortic aneurysm
Thoracic aortic aneurysm risk factors include:
- Age: Thoracic aortic aneurysms occur most often in people age 60 and older.
- Tobacco use: Tobacco use is a strong risk factor for the development of an aortic aneurysm. The longer you've smoked or chewed tobacco, the greater your risk.
- High blood pressure: Increased blood pressure damages the blood vessels in the body, raising your chances of developing an aneurysm. Buildup of plaques in your arteries (atherosclerosis) Atherosclerosis, the buildup of fat and other substances that can damage the lining of a blood vessel, increases your risk of an aneurysm.
- Being male: Men develop aortic aneurysms more often than women do. However, women with aortic aneurysms have a higher risk Of White than do men.
- Race: Aortic aneurysms occur more commonly in whites than in people of other races
- Family history: People who have a family history of aortic aneurysm are at increased risk of having one People who have a family history of aneurysms tend to develop aneurysms at a younger age and are at higher risk of rupture.
Thoracic aortic aneurysms are often found during routine medical tests, such as a chest X-ray or ultrasound of the heart, sometimes ordered fora different reason.
Aortic aneurysms often grow slowly and usually without symptoms, making them difficult to detect Some aneurysms will never rupture Many start small and stay small, although many expand over time.
As an aortic aneurysm grows, some people may notice:
- Tenderness or pain in the abdomen or chest
- Back pain
- Aneurysms can develop anywhere along the aorta, which runs from your heart through your abdomen. When they occur in the upper part of the aorta, they are called thoracic aortic aneurysms
Test & Diagnosis
Conditions that cause a thoracic aortic aneurysm may run in families.
- Imaging testing: Chest X-ray, CT scan, intravascular ultrasound, diagnostic angiogram or transesophageal echocardiogram
- Genetic testing
Medical therapy is an option for stable, small TAAs. At present, there are two treatment options:
Open Surgical repair
The procedure starts with a chest incision and the placement of a tube graft for the thoracic aorta. Although still a good option for certain patients, open surgical repair is associated with prolonged recovery and possible increased risk of leg paralysis.
It is a newer, less invasive approach utilizing thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair. This technique involves a small incision in the femoral artery for exposure and insertion of a catheter - based device to deploy agent graft (covered slant). TEVAR in appropriate patients can significantly reduce recovery him loss and wound complications.
What are the benefits of the treatment?
The treatment prevents and nullifies bursting and rupturing of an aneurysm thus improves the quality of life and increases the life expectancy.
What is the expected outcome of the surgery?
You will be discharged depending on the procedure you have opted for. There can be a risk of infection and bleeding which will be monitored by our healthcare specialist. You may resume to your regular activities within a week’s time and be back to normal routine.