The aorta, is the main vessel that carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body. That’s said it is the most important artery in our body; as a result it’s diseases may affect all our organs. It is made of 3 layers. There many disease of the Aorta, but 2 of them are the most important; An Aortic dissection and Aortic aneurysm are consider life threatening diseases.
It is a tear that occurs between the innermost and middle layers of the aorta. As a result; the blood with accumulate between the layers resulting in the most inner layer to balloon towards the inside which will obstruct the blood flow with the Aorta. Both men and women are affected by Aortic dissection, this condition may compromise blood flow to your kidneys, liver, bowels and legs. This condition is called malperfusion and can cause kidney failure, paralysis and a lack of blood flow to the legs. Aortic dissections can also cause your aorta to rupture, which may lead to life-threatening bleeding.
High blood pressure, smoking and some genetic connective tissue disorders make dissections more likely to occur.
Treatment of aortic dissections depends on the type of dissection. Type A (ascending) dissections involve the first part of the Aorta as it leaves the heart. As a result; emergency surgery is required because if left untreated, it cuts the blood supply into the coronary arteries of the heart.
Type B (descending) dissections occur in the aorta elsewhere in the chest and abdomen. Acute type B is treated by controlling the blood pressure, relieving the pain and perfusing the organs. If the dissection is chronic, it may cause an enlargement (aneurysm) of the aorta. Depending on the circumstances, minimally invasive stent grafts or open surgery can be required. If you are experiencing a lack of blood flow to an organ or a limb or bleeding, emergency treatment is needed. Usually, treatment is an endovascular stent graft, a minimally invasive procedure to reline the torn aorta and repair the dissection.
It is the enlargement of the Aortic artery due to weakening in its wall. It could happen in the chest or in the abdomen, but most commonly in the last part of the Aorta.
Enlargement of the Aortic beyond 5.5cm mandates intervention, because of the high risk of rupture which leads to death. The majority of cases are diagnosed by radiology imaging for another complaint. If it becomes symptomatic then it’s an emergency ; as this indicates rupture. Selection of the appropriate modality of Aortic Aneurysm repair depends on the age and gender of the patient, the size and anatomy of the involved Aorta, facilities and cost.
It’s advisable for men above 65 years of age, smokers or have first degree relatives to get an Aortic ultrasound for screening.