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UPMC Center for Aortic Disease

Our vascular specialists provide expert treatment of aortic disease, including complex aortic aneurysms and aortic dissections, using the latest techniques. Our goal is to provide dedicated care to patients with known or incidentally found aortic aneurysms, intramural aortic hematoma, a penetrating aortic ulcer, aortic dissection, and acute/chronic evaluations.

Why choose UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute for aortic disease treatment?

Our experts use leading-edge technology and techniques to diagnose and treat aortic disease. Clinic services include:

  • Evaluation and treatment of acute and chronic aortic pathology in the clinic setting.
  • Remote surveillance of diagnostic studies such as arterial dopplers, CTA, TTE.
  • Surgical evaluation and pre-operative testing.
  • Post-operative care

We offer a full range of tests and treatments for aortic disease, including:

  • Ultrasound or X-ray
  • Cardiac catheterization. Cardiac catheterization (also known as a coronary angiogram) is a diagnostic procedure that allows your cardiologist to see blockages, blood flow, and other problems within the arteries leading to your heart.
  • Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE). TEE uses echocardiography to check for aneurysm, heart valve problems, or the presence of a tear in the lining of your aorta.

Treatment Options for Aortic Disease

Treatment options for aortic disease can vary based on the severity of the compromise of the aortic valve or complexity of the disease related to other underlying conditions. 

What is aortic disease?

Aortic disease describes conditions that cause problems in your aorta, which is the largest artery in your body. Aortic disease can be life-threatening and can cause your aorta to split, which is called a dissection, or bulge out, which is called an aneurysm. Aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection may require surgical treatment.
Specific conditions that cause problems with your aorta include:

  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic coarctation
  • Aortic dissection
  • Aortic infection
  • Aortic intramural hematoma
  • Aortic rupture
  • Aortitis (inflammatory aortic disease)
  • Aortobronchial fistula (ABF)
  • Aortoenteric fistula
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)
  • Embolizing (shaggy) aorta
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS)
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Penetrating aortic ulcer
  • Takayasu's arteritis

What are the symptoms of aortic disease?

In some cases, aortic disease may not cause symptoms. However, if you have an aortic dissection or aortic aneurysm, symptoms may appear suddenly and be severe. Aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm may cause symptoms including:

  • Abdominal, chest, flank, and back pain. 
  • Wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath.
  • Chest tightness
  • Fainting

Who is at risk for aortic disease?

Some types of aortic disease, such as Marfan syndrome or EDS, are present at birth. However, you may be at risk of developing aortic disease later in life if you have other health conditions, including:

  • Hypertension
  • High blood pressure
  • Active smoker
  • Family history of aortic disease.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

How can I prevent aortic disease?

Preventing heart disease and chronic conditions can reduce the risk that you will develop aortic disease.

  • Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Maintain blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Avoid smoking
  • Limit alcoholic beverages.

Need more information?

Call UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute at 717-441-0578.

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Our Providers

Our Locations

UPMC Harrisburg
111 S. Front St., 2nd Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Phone: 717-441-0578
Fax: 717-221-5205

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