The aorta is the largest artery in the body originating at the heart and extending into the pelvis where it branches off into smaller divisions.
Diseases of the aorta can result in aneurysms and dissections. Aneurysms are an enlargement in the aorta, while dissections are a separation of the wall of the aorta. These manifestations frequently occur together and can be life-threatening. Some people are born with an increased risk of developing aortic disease, for example, those with Marfan’s Syndrome or who have an aortic valve with two leaflets instead of the usual three.
Optimal management of aortic disease requires a coordinated multi-specialty approach. Patients who have certain risk factors should be tested for the presence of disease. Those who are known to have disease need at least annual surveillance studies to ensure that their disease has not progressed to a stage that they are at risk of life-threatening complications. Fortunately, there are well-established guidelines for when to treat aortic disease to avoid the possibility of catastrophic complications.
Treatment of aortic disease has evolved dramatically, resulting in much safer procedures which halt the progression of disease and protect from complications. Many of the available procedures require only the placement of metal stents through a tiny incision in the leg.
The Center for Aortic Disease at Naval Medical Center San Diego is a multidisciplinary team of specialists dedicated to ensuring that aortic disease is recognized early and treated at the earliest sign that it presents a risk to the well-being of our patients. The backbone of the Center is our world-class Radiology Department that provides our cardiovascular radiologists and cardiac surgeons unparalleled imaging capabilities.
For more information on aortic disease or the Center for Aortic Disease Programs, please contact 619-532-9140 to speak to a health care professional.