Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA)
What is it?
It is a dilation of the thoracic aorta, a vessel carrying arterial blood to the abdominal aorta and lower limbs. It is considered pathological when transverse diameter is one and a half as much as the normal one. The highest risk group is persons who have other pathologies, such as atherosclerosis and related risk factors (smoking, diabetes, dyslipidemia, and arterial hypertension), traumas, congenital diseases, aorta wall infections, aortic dissection (rupture of part of the vessel wall). In general, men are more at risk than women. People over 50 are also at high risk.
Which are the symptoms?
It is predominantly asymptomatic. In some cases, there may be subcontinuous subcontinuous chest or retrosternal pain of varying degrees, difficulty breathing, voice changes and difficulty swallowing. In the event of a rupture, the pain is associated with a state of haemorrhagic shock which can be fatal within a few moments.
- chest or retrosternal pain
- breathing difficulties
- voice changes
- difficulty swallowing
How is it diagnosed?
Patients with the described symptoms are at high risk of suspecting aneurysmal disease of the thoracic aorta and should undergo imaging tests.
How is it treated?
There are three types of treatment:
- surgical treatment: substitution of an aneurysmal aorta section by a synthetic prosthesis via a cut in the left part of the chest;
- endovascular treatment: it is given only in separate cases when anatomy allows stable and safe location of prosthesis within the thoracic aorta (endoprosthesis) through the femoral, iliac or abdominal aorta arteries;
- hybrid treatment: in extremely severe cases of aortic disease, a combination of surgical and endovascular treatment can be used.
Where do we treat it?
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