A thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is an abnormal bulge that occurs in the wall of the upper portion of the aorta, which carries blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Aortic aneurysms can occur anywhere in your aorta and may be fusiform (tube-shaped) or saccular (round). An aortic aneurysm may increase the risk of aortic dissection, which occurs when a tear develops in the inner layer of the aortic wall and causes one or more of the layers of the wall to separate. There is also the risk that an aortic aneurysm can rupture. Small and slow-growing thoracic aortic aneurysms may not ever rupture, but large, fast-growing aneurysms have a higher risk of rupturing. Depending on the cause, size and growth rate, treatment may vary from monitoring the condition to emergency surgery. A surgery may be planned, if necessary.
As a TAA grows, patients may experience:
Aneurysms can occur anywhere in the thoracic aorta, including the ascending aorta near the heart, the aortic arch in the curve of the thoracic aorta, and the descending aorta in the lower part of the thoracic aorta.
Many factors contribute to the development of a thoracic aneurysm, such as:
Thoracic aortic aneurysm risk factors include:
Minimally Invasive Treatment Options