As your largest artery and the one responsible for carrying blood from the heart to most of the body, a healthy aorta is critical to survival. Thankfully, innovations in technology, medical therapy and surgical skills are helping patients with aortic disease thrive with minimal impact to quality of life. One challenging condition, for example, is aortic dissection. It occurs when there is chronic damage to the media or middle of the three layers that make up the wall of the aorta, according to Cleveland Clinic surgeon Eric Roselli, MD. Layers in the aortic wall can separate or dissect and blood can flow behind one of those layers in a false channel or lumen.