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The UPMC Center for Aortic Disease brings together all of the experts you need under one roof. Learn more.
The UPMC Center for Aortic Disease brings together all of the experts you need under one roof. Learn more.

UPMC Center for Aortic Disease

People diagnosed with aortic disease often see many different specialists for their care.

The UPMC Center for Aortic Disease provides access to all the experts you need within one center. As part of the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, the Center for Aortic Disease streamlines care for each person we see.

From a single office visit, you have access to the full spectrum of aortic care.

Our team includes:

  • Adult and Pediatric Cardiologists
  • Adult congenital heart disease experts
  • Cardiovascular geneticists
  • Cardiac surgeons
  • Vascular surgeons
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Cardiac Radiologists

Our multidisciplinary team treats all types of aortic disease and we work together on each person's case to design the best treatment plan.

When you choose the UPMC Center for Aortic Disease, you receive individualized care and access to the most advanced treatment options including minimally invasive techniques and cutting edge clinical trials.

What Is Aortic Disease?

Aortic disease is a group of conditions that affect the aorta. The aorta is the main vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

The aorta has two main sections:

  • Thoracic = in the chest. It runs from the aortic valve to the diaphragm.
  • Abdominal = in the belly. It extends from the diaphragm to the abdomen.

One of the most common aortic diseases is an aneurysm. This occurs when the vessel becomes weak and bulges outwards.

Aneurysms get bigger over time and can tear or rupture. This can cause life-threatening bleeding and even death.

What Are the Risk Factors for Aortic Disease?

Factors that can increase your risk of aortic disease include:

  • Smoking or tobacco use.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Genetic factors, including Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos, and Loeys-Dietz Syndrome.
  • Injury or trauma to the aorta.

Why come to UPMC for aortic disease care?

At the UPMC Center for Aortic Disease:

  • We provide complete, lifelong, family-centered care for people with aortic disease.
  • Our team works together to create a tailored disease management plan for each person.
  • We partner with patient advocacy organizations such as the Marfan Foundation to improve and save the lives of people with familial and genetically triggered aortic disease. Partnerships like these give our patients and their families support and resources throughout their journey.
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Aortic Conditions We Treat at UPMC

Our team treats both routine and complex aortic conditions.

Aortic aneurysms

The most common condition we treat is a bulging of the aorta, called an aortic aneurysm.

Types include:

Other aortic conditions we treat

  • Atherosclerotic occlusive disease
  • Aortic coarctation (narrowing).
  • Aortoiliac occlusive disease.
  • Aortic dissection (types A and B).
  • Bicuspid aortic valve.
  • Brachiocephalic arterial insufficiency.
  • Congenital aortic anomalies
  • Connective tissue disorder or genetically mediated aortic disease.
  • Dysphagia lusoria.
  • Ehlers Danlos syndrome.
  • Intramural hematoma.
  • Loeys Dietz syndrome.
  • Marfan syndrome.
  • Mycotic/infected aortas.
  • Penetrating aortic ulcerations.
  • Traumatic aortic injuries.
  • Vascular rings.
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How Do You Treat Aortic Diseases?

At the UPMC Center for Aortic Disease, we provide advanced treatments, access to the latest clinical trials, and minimally invasive options.

We specialize less invasive options for aortic aneurysm repair with the use of stent grafts. Examples include endovascular abdominal aortic repair (EVAR), thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR),  and repair of complex aortic aneurysms with fenestrated or branched devices (FEVAR).

Endovascular means the doctors insert catheters and wires in your blood vessels to access the area they need to fix.

Treatment options we offer include:

  • Aortic valve repair and valve replacement.
  • Ascending aortic replacement.
  • Aortic arch replacement.
  • Bicuspid aortic valve repair and replacement
  • Branched aortic endografts.
  • Narrow aorta repair/coarctation repair.
  • Types A and B dissection repair.
  • Thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm repair.
  • TEVAR (Thoracic endovascular aortic repair).
  • EVAR (Endovascular aneurysm repair).
  • FEVAR (Fenestrated or branched endovascular aortic repair).
  • Subclavian to carotid transposition.
  • Aortic transection repair.
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Aortic Clinical Trials

A Prospective, global study designed to collect real-world clinical outcomes of the MITRIS RESILIA mitral valve – North America (MOMENTIS)

PI: Ibrahim Sultan, MD
Research Coordinator: Missy Sanders Linger

To purpose of this study is to collect data on short and long-term outcomes of the MITRIS RESILIA mitral valve in subjects requiring replacement of their native (original) or prosthetic (artificial) mitral valve.

The PROGRESS Trial - A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Trial to Assess the Management of Moderate Aortic Stenosis by Clinical Surveillance or Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement

PIIbrahim Sultan, MD
Research CoordinatorKristin Konopka

This study is being done to see if the SAPIEN 3™ and SAPIEN 3 Ultra™ Transcatheter Heart Valve is beneficial for patients with moderate, calcific aortic stenosis. You will be randomly assigned to one of two groups. You will have an equal chance of getting into either group (like flipping a coin):

  1. Treatment Group: If you are assigned to this group, you will have a procedure to replace your aortic valve with the Edwards SAPIEN 3 or Edwards SAPIEN 3 Ultra system. The type of procedure for this device is called Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR).
  2. Clinical Surveillance Group: If you are assigned to this group, you will not have your heart valve replaced. However, your doctor will continue to provide optimal medical therapy and will closely monitor how you are doing (this is called ‘Clinical Surveillance’).

PRO: Optimize Pro FX TAVR Post Market Study

PI: Dustin Kliner, MD
Research Coordinator: Stephanie Shearer

The purpose of this study is to learn more about how well this device works and to learn about the effects of following a particular set of steps when treating a patient with the EvolutFX system.

TiGER-001 Study

PIIbrahim Sultan, MD
Research CoordinatorKristin Konopka

Terumo Aortic manufactures endovascular (inside the blood vessel) grafts that are widely used to treat a number of different conditions. Terumo Aortic is funding the TiGER study to better understand how the study devices perform. You are being asked to take part because your doctor has decided that the most appropriate treatment for your condition is with a Terumo Aortic Relay®Pro Endovascular graft. 

Terumo Aortic/Thoraflex Hybrid and Relay Extension Post-Approval Study (EXTEND)

PIIbrahim Sultan, MD
Research CoordinatorKristin Konopka

The purpose of this study is to gather further information on the use of the Thoraflex Hybrid study device alone and in combination with the RelayPro NBS Stent-graft to treat aortic disease.

PMCF Mitral Registry

PI: Johannes Bonatti, MD
Research Coordinator: Gail Wallen

The purpose of this registry is to collect information about the safety and performance of market-released heart valve repair and replacement products made by Medtronic.

Valved Graft Post-Market Clinical Follow-up Study

PI: Derek Serna-Gallegos
Research Coordinator: Gail Wallen

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of Abbott Valved Graft devices used for surgical replacement for patients with a malfunctioning native or prosthetic aortic heart valve and ascending aorta pathology.

GORE® EXCLUDER® Thoracoabdominal Branch Endoprosthesis

PIMichael Singh, MD
Research Coordinators
Judith Brimmeier, 412-623-8486 | Julia Wozniak412-623-8443

A study of patients with aortic aneurysm involving the visceral vessels requiring treatment defined as:

  • Fusiform aneurysm diameter ≥ 5cm.
  • Saccular aneurysm.
  • Rapid aneurysm growth.

Must also have proper aortic anatomy to receive the TAMBE device.

This prospective, non-randomized, multi-center study has two independent arms:

  • TAAA requiring only TAMBE system.
  • TAAA requiring TAMBE system and CTAG device(s).

The study is to assess the safety and effectiveness of the TAMBE device in treating thoracoabdominal and pararenal aortic aneurysms.

GORE® TAG® Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis

PI: Michael Singh, MD
Research Coordinators: Judith Brimmeier412-623-8486 | Julia Wozniak412-623-8443

A study of patients > 18 years of age with thoracic aortic lesions which require coverage of the left subclavian artery, left common carotid artery and/or the brachiocephalic trunk/innominate artery for effective treatment and have anatomy suitable for treatment with the TAG TBE device. The prospective, non-randomized study will assess the GORE® TAG® Thoracic Branch Endoprosthesis (TBE Device) treating lesions of the aortic arch and the descending thoracic aorta.

Contact the UPMC Center for Aortic Disease

To plan a visit with a UPMC doctor:

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Aortic Root Aneurysm

For as long as he can remember, Kyle Conway has known he'd need surgery one day to fix an aortic aneurysm.  Read Kyle's story.

Ascending Aortic Aneurysm

Doctors diagnosed John with an ascending aortic aneurysm. That’s when he turned to the experts at UPMC. Read John's story.

Get in Touch With the UPMC Center for Aortic Disease

To learn more or to plan a visit, call 412-647-7070 or email

Find a UPMC aortic disease provider.


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