Types of and risks of this bulge in the wall of the body’s largest artery
Expert Heart & Vascular Care
Getting the care you need starts with seeing one of our heart or vascular specialists.
An aortic aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of the aorta, the body’s largest artery, which carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. If the aortic wall weakens, the pressure of blood flow can cause the wall of the artery to bulge outward.
What are the types of aortic aneurysm?
We label aortic aneurysms based on where in the body they appear:
- An abdominal aortic aneurysm forms in the abdomen, or belly.
- A thoracic aortic aneurysm forms in the thorax, or chest. This can include aneurysms of the aortic root, ascending aorta and aortic arch.
- A thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm forms between the chest and belly.
We bring heart and vascular surgeons together in our Complex Aortic Center to care for patients with these complex conditions.
What are the risk factors for aortic aneurysms?
An aneurysm can form in the aorta for many reasons. The biggest risk factor is smoking, which also increases the risk that the aneurysm will burst.
Other risk factors for developing an aortic aneurysm include:
Abdominal duplex ultrasound is a combination of a traditional and Doppler ultrasound that assesses the blood vessels in your abdomen for blockages or aneurysms.
Cardiac catheterization is a minimally invasive way to diagnose and treat a variety of heart and vascular conditions by guiding thin, flexible tubes called catheters through blood vessels to problem areas.
The cardiac computed tomography scan, or cardiac CT, uses X-rays to create three-dimensional images of your heart and blood vessels.
An echocardiogram uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your heart.
Magnetic resonance imaging, better known as cardiac MRI, is a combination of radio waves, magnets and computer technology to create images of your heart and blood vessels.
Careful monitoring, medication and other approaches may be enough to treat an aortic aneurysm without surgery. For more complex cases, we offer individualized treatment plans.
Aneurysm surgery is used to repair bulges in blood vessels after they have ruptured or to prevent them from rupturing. Surgery may take several approaches: traditional open surgery, a minimally invasive endovascular method or a hybrid of the two.
Fenestrated aortic aneurysm repair is a procedure using custom stents to treat aneurysms that affect multiple branches of the aorta.