Features June 2018 Issue

Patients with Aortic Disease Require Lifelong Care

Aneurysms commonly occur in the section of the aorta nearest the heart (A). If the aneurysm is caught before a dissection occurs,the damaged area can be replaced with a polyester graft (B). This is often the first of many repairs the diseased aorta will require.

Patients with Aortic Disease Require Lifelong Care

Surgery can avert catastrophic death, but the disease process marches on.

Aortic disease kills more than 40,000 people a year in the U.S. alone, yet is relatively unknown. The disease causes the walls of the aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body, to weaken and balloon out, creating an aortic aneurysm. When the aneurysm reaches its limit, the inner layers of tissue simply rip apart (dissect). Most people do not survive an acute aortic dissection Those who make it to a hospital often require an emergency intervention.

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