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An aneurysm is a bulge or weakening of the wall of an artery. The major artery (aorta) that carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the lower body can develop an aneurysm anywhere along its length. A thoracic aortic aneurysm is a bulge that occurs in the upper portion of the aorta that passes through the chest cavity.
If you suspect a thoracic aortic aneurysm in Las Vegas or Henderson, NV, seek diagnosis and the appropriate treatment at Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican hospitals. Find a Doctor near you or call (702) 616-4900 today.
Thoracic aortic aneurysms often do not produce any symptoms until they rupture or begin to leak. If this happens, the aneurysm produces life-threatening signs and symptoms that may include:
A ruptured thoracic aortic aneurysm is a medical emergency. Call 911 for emergency medical assistance.
Occasionally, a thoracic aortic aneurysm will grow very large without rupturing. In this instance, the aneurysm may produce symptoms that include problems swallowing, hoarseness, or stridor (high-pitched breathing sounds).
No matter where they occur in the body, aneurysms are caused by a weakening of the artery wall that causes it to bulge or balloon outward. The aorta is particularly susceptible to developing an aneurysm because it absorbs the high force of blood pumping out of the heart with every beat.
Researchers don’t know why some people get aneurysms while others do not, but they have identified certain risk factors that may increase your chance of developing a thoracic aortic aneurysm. These risk factors include:
If a thoracic aortic aneurysm bursts, doctors will attempt to perform emergency surgery to remove the damaged portion of the aorta and replace it with a synthetic vessel. If your aneurysm is diagnosed prior to leaking or bursting, doctors will focus treatment on preventing a rupture. Strategies may include medications to treat related conditions such as hypertension or surgical procedures to support or replace the damaged portion of the aorta before it leaks. Decisions regarding any surgery on the thoracic aorta must balance the risks of eventual rupture with the risks of major surgery.
You can reduce your risk of developing a thoracic aortic aneurysm by adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle. In particular, you should quit smoking, treat high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, eat healthy, and exercise regularly. By taking these simple measures, you might be able to keep your aorta flexible and healthy for many years to come. Join one of our heart care classes at Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican.
Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican hospitals offers care for thoracic aortic aneurysm in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.