Aorta is the great artery that originates from the heart. This vessel is responsible for carrying the blood pumped by the heart to other organs. Aneurysm and dissection are the most common diseases of the aorta. Aneurysms, balloon formation, dilatation and dissections are the conditions characterized by separation of layers in the wall of the vessel and the resultant bleeding between these layers. The main etiological factor is atherosclerosis that is colloquially called hardening of vessels. The most important predisposing factors of atherosclerosis are hypertension, diabetes mellitus and smoking. In addition to those factors, overweight and obesity, tissue diseases and traumas may damage the aorta. Dilatation or dissection of this blood vessel is usually manifested by chest, back and abdominal pain. In certain cases, it may stay asymptomatic and be accidentally detected in the examinations. Diagnosis methods are ultrasound, computed tomography and angiography.
What are treatment methods?
Treatments of aortic dilatations or dissections vary depending on the condition of the related region. For example, diseases located at the proximal portion of ascending aorta require early surgery. The treatment varies for diseases located in thoracic and abdominal aorta.
The main goal in the surgical method is to replace the bulged or ruptured segment with an artificial vessel. Surgeries for the proximal portion of the vessel are performed after the heart is arrested, patient’s body is cooled and next, the blood circulation is completely stopped, as is the case with routine cardiac surgeries. The heart is not arrested for the descending part of the aorta.
Endovascular graft is the preferred method for dilatations and tears at the thoracic and abdominal parts of the aorta. A blood vessel is punctured in the groin and an artificial vessel is placed to the dilated or ruptured segment. Patients can be discharged swiftly since surgery is not required. Recovery period is fairly short.