What is a Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm?

A thoracic aortic aneurysm, say that five times fast, is a weakened and bulging area in the upper part of the aorta, which is the major vessel that feeds blood to the body from the heart. Depending on the size and growth rate of the aneurysm, treatment may vary from watchful waiting to emergency surgery.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms often grow slowly and without symptoms, making them difficult to detect. Some people may notice pain or tenderness in the abdomen, chest or back. The exact causes of thoracic aortic aneurysms are unknown, but contributing factors include hereditary conditions, connective tissue disease, heart valve failures and problems, and traumatic injury.

While there is not a medicine you can take to prevent these aneurysms, there are risk factors you can be aware of. Risk factors include age, tobacco use, high blood pressure, plaque build up in the arteries and genetic predisposition. Males are also more likely to develop a thoracic aortic aneurysm than women and more Caucasians are diagnosed with these aneurysms than any other race.

Doctors are able to diagnose thoracic aortic aneurysms through chest x-rays, echocardiograms, CT scans and MRA’s. If you think you may have an aortic aneurysm or have experienced any of the symptoms, see your doctor immediately.

For more information about vascular health contact one of the doctors at the Reno Vein Clinic at (775) 329-3100 or visit www.renoveinclinic.com.

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