Aortopathy is a disorder of the aorta, the largest artery in the body.
The aorta carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When a problem occurs, the results can be serious.
UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute diagnoses aortopathy and uses minimally invasive techniques to treat it.
To request an appointment, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute:
The aorta, the body's main artery, supplies oxygenated blood to the whole body. It runs from the chest down through the stomach, where it splits off into smaller blood vessels.
Aortopathy is any disease that affects the aorta.
Conditions such as thoracic aortic enlargement (aneurysm in the chest) and acute aortic dissection (a tear in the aorta) can be life-threatening.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, aortic aneurysm causes nearly 10,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.
Disorders of the aorta may be genetic or caused by a person's lifestyle.
About 75% of those with abdominal aortic aneurysms have a history of smoking.
But, any condition that causes the aorta's walls to weaken can lead to a thoracic aortic enlargement or acute aortic dissection. Injuries, wounds, and infections can all be a cause.
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The following symptoms are signs of a potentially life-threatening aortic condition:
If you have any of the above, seek medical attention right away.
Doctors urge men — between 65 and 75 who have ever smoked — get an ultrasound, even if they don't have symptoms. An ultrasound screening may reveal an existing aortic aneurysm before it bursts and becomes a medical emergency.
Routine check-ups are vital for overall heart health.
Report any unusual symptoms (shortness of breath, nausea, irregular heartbeat) to your doctor right away.
UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute offers treatment for aortopathy, including:
The following lifestyle changes can reduce the likelihood of problems with your aorta (and other heart-related diseases):
Drugs can lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of the aorta rupturing.
Surgeons at the UPMC Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease are experts in minimally invasive surgery to repair or replace the damaged aorta.
Sometimes placing a stent in the artery is an option.
Compared to traditional surgery, these less invasive techniques to treat aortic diseases offer the following benefits: