Thoracic aortic disease can be catastrophic for patients — cutting lives short for some, and leading to devastating disability for others.
The Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease (CTAD) is a center of excellence — established by the UPMC Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery — that follows a cohesive and multidisciplinary system for delivering care. The CTAD aims to provide timely, comprehensive, and individualized disease management strategies for patients suffering from complex thoracic aortic diseases.
Thoracic aortic disease refers to conditions that affect the aorta — the largest artery in the body — which carries all the blood that is pumped out of the heart. Bulging or weakened areas in the wall of the aorta, known as aneurysms, can form due to disease or genetics. Aneurysms will enlarge over time, and then may be at risk for tearing (dissection) or rupture, which can cause life threatening bleeding and potentially death. Treatment options, based on your condition and the size of aneurysm or extent of the dissection, include medication to help control your blood pressure or surgical intervention to repair the affected portion of the aorta.
Approximately 15,000 Americans are diagnosed with thoracic aneurysms (TAA) each year. Thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms (TAAA) are less common.
At the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute's Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease, our multidisciplinary approach to care and extensive experience – including 899 open heart cases and 229 aortic cases in 2018 – offers patients many benefits.
The CTAD brings together experts with defined clinical and academic focuses on conditions and treatments for thoracic aortic diseases, including:
Thoracic Aortic Diseases/Conditions We Treat
Patients with thoracic aortic disease often must consult many different specialists to address various aspects of their disease. At the UPMC Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease, our system streamlines care for patients.
When patients are referred, they undergo a comprehensive evaluation by the integrated, multidisciplinary team, at one location — the Thoracic Aortic Clinic at UPMC Presbyterian.
We offer consultations by specialists, including:
These appointments often can be coordinated with diagnostic imaging and cardiology testing in the same clinic, often in the same day. By bringing specialized testing and experts to the patient, the CTAD helps break down communication barriers, so that specialists can more closely collaborate on treatment planning for patients with thoracic aortic disease.
Those treatments may include minimally invasive approaches. Compared to traditional, open surgery, minimally invasive approaches offer patients the potential for:
Qualifying patients may be treated with thoracic endovascular therapy (stent grafts), a minimally invasive approach that could delay, or eliminate, the need for open-heart surgery.
Thomas G. Gleason, MD, FACS, FACC, FACCP
Ronald V. Pellegrini Endowed Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery
Chief, Division of Cardiac Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Co-Director, UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute
Director, Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease
Forozan Navid, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Ibrahim Sultan, MD
Assistant Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Associate Director, Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease
Jeffrey Balzer, PhD
The goal of the Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease is helping primary care, emergency medicine, and subspecialty providers identify, treat, follow, and track the progress of their patients with thoracic aortic disease.
Pre-hospital referrals and transfers for thoracic aortic emergencies — like an aortic dissection, ruptured aneurysm, or traumatic aortic injury — are quickly simplified with a single phone call, from the patient or provider, to the hotline below.
Referring physicians need only to make a single phone call to the Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease to initiate a comprehensive evaluation for their patient.
To refer a patient for a comprehensive evaluation, call 412-647-7070.
For emergencies and immediate referrals, call 412-647-7070.
Thoracic Aortic Clinic
5 Fl, B-Wing
200 Lothrop St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Center for Thoracic Aortic Disease
UPMC Shadyside Medical Building Suite 715
5200 Centre Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15232