A thoracic aneurysm is a medical condition in which the body’s main artery, the aorta, has widened and created a bulge. While the aorta is traditionally flexible to accommodate blood flow, certain issues can create a lack of elasticity. This is a serious complication because spreading and stretching makes the artery weak and prone to exploding (rupture). The aorta is the main route of blood for oxygenated blood to the rest of the body, and a rupture can cause death by excessive internal bleeding quickly. aneurysms can happen anywhere in the aorta, but are commonly found in the abdominal/stomach area. These are referred to as abdominal thoracic aneurysms and can be described as either ascending (heading towards the heart) or descending (heading away from the heart).
What are Symptoms of Thoracic Aneurysms?
Unfortunately, most abdominal thoracic aneurysms provide few symptoms for the patient, making them a walking time bomb of sorts. Usually an aortic aneurysm is accidentally detected by way of testing for another disease or malady. Sometimes symptoms are exhibited through chest, back or abdominal pain, but because these are relatively vague symptoms, an aneurysm is not the first condition ruled out.
Why are Abdominal Thoracic Aneurysms Dangerous?
If they rupture, they can cause death within minutes, but even if they don’t, they can cause a host of other problems. When blood flow slows, clots may form in the aorta. If a blood clot breaks off and goes into the blood stream, it can progress to the brain and cause a stroke. If a blood clot from an abdominal thoracic aneurysm breaks off it can prevent blood flow to the legs and stomach area creating major problems with circulation.
Risk Factors for Thoracic Aneurysms
The most common risk factors for thoracic aneurysms are age (over 65 is most common) and tobacco use. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are also risk factors for this condition. Lastly, a family history of abdominal thoracic aneurysms can make the risk higher for an individual.
Thoracic Aneurysm Treatments
Thoracic aneurysms can be treated in a variety of ways depending on their size, location, and rate of growth. It is also necessary to take into account the age, sex, and general health of the patient, as well as the shape and rigidity of the heart valves.Some aneurysms are able to be treated with beta blockers to control high blood pressure and cholesterol, while others require surgery to fix. Many abdominal thoracic aneurysms require surgery to repair. In general, surgery for small aneurysms is rare because they are at a low risk for rupturing. The larger the risk for rupture, the more likely surgery is the best option.
If you need treatment for a serious thoracic aneurysm, consider the most reliable vascular specialists in Pennsylvania. Call (215) 829-5000 for an appointment!