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Thoracic and Thoracoabdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Aorta is the main vessel of the human body that feeds it and supplies oxygenated blood to the organs and other parts. The condition when it gets weak, the blood inside can push the arterial wall and cause a bulge like structure. This condition is known as a thoracic aortic aneurysm. The bulge is an aneurysm caused inside the aorta.

The aorta can get dissected due to the thoracic aortic aneurysm or thoracic aneurysm. The location on which the aorta is weak gets the name horacic (lungs) or thoracoabdominal (chest and abdomen).

The internal bleeding can be fatal if the dissected aorta isn’t treated timely. These aneurysms are large and growing fast to get ruptured. Although the small aneurysms are less likely to get ruptured and be easily treated. 

An emergency situation is planned according to the location, size, the severity of the aneurysm. The growth rate can also differ and if it’s growing at a rapid rate, surgery is suggested. 

Doctors at CARE Hospitals work exclusively to diagnose and treat conditions like thoracic aortic aneurysms. 

Symptoms 

An aneurysm can slowly grow without any symptoms. Some of the thoracic aortic aneurysms are small and intend to stay small without causing any serious damage to the body. 

These thoracic aortic aneurysms may never rupture and stay in one place as a small bulge but can expand if untreated. It is difficult to predict the speed of growth of a thoracic aortic aneurysm. 

With the growth of the thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm, a person may experience the following symptoms-

  • Tenderness in the chest
  • Pain in the chest 
  • Back pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

These can develop anywhere with the aorta; from the heart to the chest to the abdomen. Chest aneurysms are called thoracic aortic aneurysms and those related to the stomach are called thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms.

Risks 

There are many risk factors associated with thoracic aortic aneurysms that need to be taken seriously.

  • Age- when a person is over or around 65, they are more prone to thoracic and other aortic aneurysms.

  • Tobacco use- is one of the leading risk factors associated with thoracic and related aortic aneurysms.

  • High blood pressure - High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels and contribute to the thoracic and related aortic aneurysms.

  • Plagues buildup- Fat and other substances can build up around the blood vessels and damage their lining. It is common in older people and causes a thoracic aortic aneurysm.

  • Family genes and history- Young people can also acquire thoracic and related aortic aneurysms if they have a family history of the same.

  • Marfan syndrome and related factors- conditions like Loeys-Dietz syndrome, Marfan syndrome or vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can contribute to the same.

  • Bicuspid aortic valve- if you have 2 cusps instead of 3, you’ll be prone to thoracic and related aortic aneurysms.

Diagnosis 

  • Medical tests including physical examinations, routine check-ups, ultrasounds, CT scans, and X-ray scans can detect thoracic and related aortic aneurysms.

  • One will be required to tell the medical history and previous medications if taken. The family history is also evaluated in the same way.

  • If the preliminary examinations confirm the presence of thoracic and related aortic aneurysms, doctors will conduct the secondary examinations to give suitable treatment.

Screening tests 

  • Echocardiogram- the ascending aorta and heart is diagnosed with the help of sound waves used in an echocardiogram. It is done to know and diagnose the functioning of heart chambers and valves. It can also screen the family members and diagnose thoracic and related aortic aneurysms. A transoesophageal echocardiogram can also be diagnosed if the doctor wants a proper picture of the aorta. 

  • Computed tomography or CT- the cross-sectional of the body and images of the aorta are made with the help of X-rays using CT scans. The size and the location of the aneurysm are judged by this. You’ll lay down on the table where the procedure is carried, a dye may also be injected inside the veins to know the aorta clearly. If one has Marfan syndrome, they are given daily radiation treatment to know the status of the aneurysms.

  • Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI- the pictures of the body are made using radio waves and a magnetic field. It can diagnose the thoracic and related aortic aneurysms, their sizes and locations. Magnetic resonance angiography can also be used to know the status of the aorta.

  • Genetic testing- if one has a family history of thoracic and related aortic aneurysms or any other genetic markup; they would have to have the test to know the risk for further development. 

Treatments

  • Treatments are given to stop the rupture and dissection of the aorta and prevent the aneurysm from growing. 

  • For the abnormal size and growth rate of the thoracic and related aortic aneurysms a surgery is recommended.

Monitoring 

  • The management along with the medication and imaging tests is monitored by the doctors to treat thoracic and related aortic aneurysms.

  • Every 6 months the echocardiogram, MRI, and CT are conducted to know the status of thoracic and related aortic aneurysms. Regular follow-ups are also important to know its rate of growth. 

Surgery 

  • When the thoracic and related aortic aneurysms get about 1.9 to 2.4 inches, surgery is recommended. The type of surgery will be dependent on the condition, size and type of aneurysms.

  • Open-chest surgery- a synthetic tube called a graft is inserted after removing the damaged part of the aorta. This surgery is called open chest surgery. 

  • Endovascular surgery- is done by inserting the graft into the aorta. It is done via the leg and is installed as a thread up into the aorta. 

Why choose CARE Hospitals in India?

At CARE Hospitals in India, we try to provide services close to home that benefit the entire community. We aim to treat each person as an individual, not a patient, an ailment, or an appointment - it's central to all we do. One passion drives our commitment to education, research, and the people we serve: linking our patients, team members, and communities to their health.

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