The aorta is your largest blood vessel, coming out of your heart and supplying the rest of your body with blood. But weakened areas of the artery walls or valve problems can prevent blood from circulating as it should. Aortic diseases include:
- Aortic aneurysm. An area of the aorta weakens, causing it to widen or bulge out. The weakened area can eventually rupture, causing life-threatening internal bleeding. A thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs in the upper part of your aorta. An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs in the lower part.
- Aortic dissection. If the inner layer of the aortic wall tears, it causes blood to flow between the other layers, separating them.
- Aortic valve stenosis. The flaps (leaflets) of the valve thicken, stiffen or grow together, narrowing the valve opening and reducing blood flow to the rest of your body.
- Aortic valve regurgitation (or aortic insufficiency). When the valve doesn't close completely, blood flows backward into the heart.
Nonsurgical Aortic Disease Care
Our cardiologists and vascular surgeons specialize in helping you prevent heart disease and offer advanced screening and diagnosis to identify your risks and find problems at the earliest stages. Our noninvasive treatments include:
- Heart-healthy advice and guidance. We help you understand your risk factors and incorporate healthy behaviors to stop heart disease before it starts, such as eating right, exercising, and managing stress.
- Monitoring. We keep an eye on your health through regular checkups and screenings to keep you safe and make sure you get any necessary care right away.
- Managing your risk factors. We help manage conditions that can lead to aortic disease, such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, and heart failure.
- Cardiac rehabilitation. If you’ve had a heart attack or you’re living with heart problems that raise your risk of aortic disease, our rehab experts help you get healthier and feel better.
Aortic Disease Procedures and Surgery
We specialize in minimally invasive, endovascular approaches to treat aortic disease and other heart and vascular conditions. These procedures use tiny instruments and advanced imaging equipment. That means there’s less pain and scarring, a shorter hospital stay, and a faster recovery.
Surgeons make a small incision in your upper thigh or neck and insert a thin, flexible tube (catheter) in an artery and guide it to your aorta to perform:
- Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR). We use EVAR to treat abdominal aortic aneurysms. We place a stent (mesh tube) in the weak area, to strengthen the artery wall and restore blood flow.
- Abdominal aortic and peripheral aneurysms repair. We use minimally invasive and open surgery to remove the aneurysm and replace it with a graft.
- Thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR). TEVAR treats thoracic aortic aneurysms. Similar to EVAR, we place a stent in the weakened area of the artery.
- Endovascular procedures. We use minimally invasive and surgical approaches to treat blood vessel conditions, such as aneurysms, atherosclerosis, claudication (pain during exercise) caused by peripheral artery disease, and carotid artery disease.
- Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR). This advanced procedure replaces a damaged aortic valve without removing it. The new valve is compressed until it's placed in position and then expanded. It's held in place with the damaged valve flaps (leaflets).
- Bypass surgery. For patients whose aorta is blocked from plaque that impacts flow to legs and intestines.
- Bypass grafting. Treatment for atherosclerotic diseases that limit the flow of blood to other parts of the body.
We’re one of the few hospitals in the area to offer hybrid procedures — advanced surgeries that combine open surgery and minimally invasive methods. We bring together heart surgeons, interventional cardiologists, and vascular surgeons who work as a team to provide a less invasive approach.
For conditions that need open surgery, our our cardiothoracic and vascular surgery team has the experience to perform even the most complex aortic surgeries. They repair or replace damaged areas, including the aortic valve, aortic root (area closest to the heart), and aortic arch (the area that bends between the ascending and descending aorta).
A Team-Based, Patient-Centered Approach
We make getting the care you need easier. By bringing together cardiologists, surgeons, and other specialists at a single appointment, you get the combined expertise of our knowledgeable team. We go over your options and develop a treatment plan to give you the best results.