What Are Ascending and Aortic Arch Aneurysms?
Aneurysms (bulging of the aorta) occur because of molecular and connective tissue changes in the wall of the aorta. These changes sometimes cause atherosclerosis and other times cystic medical degeneration (a breakdown of the muscular layer in the aorta), resulting in aneurysms.
Ascending and aortic arch aneurysm risk factors
Ascending aortic aneurysms are the second most common aortic aneurysms, normally found in people in their 60s and 70s. However, many patients who are predisposed to developing aneurysms can have these earlier in their lives.
Risk factors for ascending aortic aneurysms include:
- History of high blood pressure
- Connective tissue disorders
- Heart murmurs
The difference between ascending and aortic arch aneurysms
- An ascending aortic aneurysm is located above the heart and can cause the aortic valve to leak. An ascending aneurysms are the second most common form of aortic aneurism. This condition is commonly diagnosed later in life. This type of aneurysm is located above the heart and can cause the aortic valve to leak.
- An aortic arch aneurysm is a bulge in the portion of the aorta closest to the heart located away from the heart and can involve the blood vessels that supply to your head and neck.
Complications of ascending and aortic arch aneurysms
Aortic aneurysms are dangerous because they may overstretch the aorta, causing it to burst and spill blood outside of the aorta.
Because the aorta is the body's main supplier of blood, a ruptured aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding, which may require immediate surgical attention, such as aortic repair. If the ascending or aortic arch aneurysm has not ruptured, your vascular surgeon may recommend surgery or implanting a stent to help reduce the chance of rupture.
Why choose UPMC for ascending and aortic arch aneurysm care?
The UPMC Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease, a center of excellence at the Heart and Vascular Institute treats a full range of disorders and diseases affecting the aorta, such as aneurysms and aortic dissection.
What Distinguishes Our Center?
- Our multidisciplinary approach — integrated care designed so you can undergo a comprehensive evaluation at one location, instead of consulting many different specialists to address the various aspects of your disease.
- Our minimally invasive procedures — such as endovascular thoracic aortic repairs using stent grafts, as well as aortic root reconstructions that preserve the aortic valve.
- Our surgeons — actively involved in ongoing cardiovascular research to advance patient care and form new strategies to better manage thoracic aortic disease.