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Aortic Disease

Pennsylvania Vascular is one of the top vascular specialists in Pennsylvania and has the most experience treating aortic heart disease. This disease has many different components, and can present itself in several different ways. Because of the varying symptom and severity, it is critical to use competent and experienced doctors for treatment. Causes of aortic disease may be congenital, inherited, or due to age, and all must be addressed with urgency.

What is it?

Typically thoracic aortic disease affects the aorta and sometimes the aortic valve. Cases that involved the aortic valve require surgery to repair. The term “aortic disease” includes a wide variety of issues, stemming from different areas of the aorta.

Aortic Aneurysm

Sometimes the aortic wall can become thin and weak, resulting in a bulge or enlargement. This is referred to as an aortic aneurysm. Left untreated, this condition can have deadly complications. Though atherosclerosis is the main cause of thoracic aortic aneurysms, tissue disorders like Marfan’s Syndrome and abnormal anatomy of the tricuspid valve may also play a role. Usual treatment for an aortic aneurysm is dependent upon the size and location of the issue. Bigger bulges may require surgical treatment, and smaller ones usually respond to medication that lowers blood pressure, along with diet and exercise modification.

Aortic Dissection

There are two phases of aortic dissection, acute and chronic. An aortic dissection is a condition in which a small tear in the inner lining of the aorta (ascending, aortic arch or proximal descending) creates a tube or channel on the middle layer of the aorta. This secondary tube (lumen) that blood flows through can lower blood pressure in the aorta and also compromise oxygen delivery to the organs. It also causes severe weakness in the aortic wall, and can cause a rupture. Acute dissection is the first two weeks of the condition, and after this phase it is classified as chronic aortic dissection. Aortic dissection is closely monitored to observe the size of the aorta.

Classification of Aortic Dissection

Acute aortic dissections of the ascending aorta are the most urgent cases, and are quickly treated with surgery. Those with chronic aortic dissection of the ascending aorta are treated based on their overall condition and symptoms. Chronic dissection of the descending aorta may present few symptoms and leave a patient with a relatively low risk. these are treated according to their severity, but many times require minor treatment.

A history of elevated blood pressure, obesity and various diseases and disorders (aortic aneurysms, biscuspic valve, Marfan’s Syndrome) are classified as Type A Aortic Dissections. Patients with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and history of smoking are at risk for Type B Aortic Dissection. These involve a tear in the inner lining of the aorta, beyond the subclavian artery and may include the aortic arch.

Aortic Heart Disease Treatment Pennsylvania

Although aortic heart disease is a serious condition, with the proper treatment it is manageable and even curable. The key is early detection and finding the right team of doctors. The Pennsylvania Vascular Center is qualified to handle all phases of aortic disease. Their level of care and experience is unmatched. If you are in Pennsylvania and need aortic heart disease treatment, please contact PA Vascular for a consultation!