Treating complex conditions in your heart’s main artery
The aorta is the main artery from the heart that carries blood to the rest of your body. Problems with the aorta can lead to serious or life-threatening emergencies.
At the Aortic Center, part of Baylor Scott & White Heart and Vascular Hospital – Dallas, a multidisciplinary team of cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons and imaging specialists on the medical staff apply advanced technology and techniques in the treatment of complex conditions related to the aorta and work closely with your healthcare provider.
Many different diseases and conditions can cause the aorta to widen or tear. Advanced age, high blood pressure, genetic conditions, high cholesterol and smoking are among the aortic aneurysm risk factors.
An aortic aneurysm is an enlargement of the aorta due to a weakened area on the wall. This vulnerable section could lead to a bulging hole called a rupture, allowing blood to leak into the body. Another abnormality of the aorta is aortic dissection. A dissection is a split between the layers of the aorta that traps blood coming from the heart.
When the aorta "bulges" or ruptures, it increases your risk for future life-threatening events and may require surgery, which we perform at our Dallas heart hospital.
Endovascular aneurysm repair
Instead of an open-heart surgery aneurysm repair, your Dallas heart surgeon may consider a procedure called an endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR, TEVAR, TA-EVAR). By creating small incisions in the groin, heart surgery is performed inside your aorta with thin, long tubes called catheters to guide a stent graft to the aneurysm through the blood vessels. The stent graft is then positioned in the diseased aorta segment to "re-align" the aorta to redirect blood flow away from the aneurysm.
Aortic root ascending and arch aneurysm
The section of the aorta running through the chest is called the thoracic aorta. An ascending aortic aneurysm is a bulge in the portion of the aorta closest to the heart. Surgical intervention at our heart hospital in Dallas may require an open-chest procedure to prevent the risk of rupture, or “watchful waiting” depending the aneurysm size, growth rate and symptoms.
Aortic dissection is a tear in the wall of the aorta. This split between the layers of the aorta traps blood coming from the heart. There are two different categories of aortic dissection, each requiring a different level of aortic surgery treatment at our Dallas heart hospital.
When a dissection involves the ascending aorta, it is considered a medical emergency. Often referred to as a type A dissection, a patient diagnosed with this sort of an aneurysm requires immediate medical intervention from a heart surgeon to repair the dissection—usually aortic surgery in the operating room.
A type B dissection involves only the descending aorta. Medication instead of heart surgery is usually the recommended treatment unless complications occur.