The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It extends from the heart down through the chest (thoracic aorta) and into the abdomen (abdominal aorta). The aorta carries blood with oxygen to the rest of the body.
Blood leaves the heart through the aortic heart valve and enters the aorta. Blood travels up the ascending aorta, along the aortic arch and down the descending thoracic aorta. Then, it flows into the abdominal aorta. The aorta then branches off to supply blood to all parts of the body.
Aortic disease includes conditions that affect any part of the aorta, such as:
- Aortic heart valve disease
- Aortic aneurysms: A weak spot along the aorta that causes the aorta to balloon or bulge
- Aortic dissections: A tear along the aorta that can be life-threatening
- Traumatic injury to the aorta: This is caused by blunt force to the chest, like in a car accident, a gunshot or knife wound
Aortic disease can be caused by:
- Defects of the aorta present at birth (congenital)
- Diseased aortic heart valve
- Age-related changes
- High blood pressure
- Plaque buildup (atherosclerosis)
- Inflammation of the aorta (vasculitis)
For people with complex aortic disease, the Center for Aortic Care offers the most advanced, comprehensive treatment options. The center brings together a nationally recognized team of specially trained experts, including:
- Cardiac surgeons
- Vascular surgeons
- Cardiac imaging specialists
- Genetic specialists
- Nurse clinical coordinators
Our team works with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan. We coordinate appointment schedules to help make clinic visits comprehensive and efficient. Our goal is to achieve superior results for patients with aortic disease and to improve their overall quality of life.
Dedicated nurse clinical coordinators arrange patient evaluations and second opinions for all types of aortic disease. We offer virtual visits upon request.