Heart Hospital of Austin offers leading-edge treatment options for patients with conditions of the thoracic aorta, including acute and chronic aortic dissections, traumatic injuries of the aorta, thoracic and thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms, Marfan syndrome and coarctation of the aorta.

Innovative Treatment Strategies

In addition to standard therapies, specialists offer a number of innovative strategies for managing thoracic aortic diseases, including:

  • Minimally invasive stent-grafts for selected descending thoracic aortic aneurysms
  • Stent-grafting of selected type B aortic dissections
  • Fenestrated abdominal and thoracic endografts
  • Valve-preserving operations for aortic root aneurysms
  • Repair of extensive thoracoabdominal aneurysms
  • Multi-modality imaging of a variety of complex thoracic aortic conditions

Surgical repair of thoracic aortic aneurysms is usually performed when the aneurysm is large enough in size to carry a significant risk of rupture or dissection, or when aneurysms cause symptoms. Aneurysms of smaller size are usually managed medically with blood pressure control and monitored with periodic imaging.

Lifelong Care for Thoracic Aortic Disease

Patients with aortic disease who are diagnosed and managed appropriately can expect to lead relatively normal lives, but lifelong management of the disease is required. Patients need to have control of their blood pressure over their lifetimes in order to avoid hypertension (high blood pressure) and limit the stress on the weakened wall of the aorta. In order to optimally monitor blood pressure, we typically recommend that patients use an automatic blood pressure cuff at home on a regular basis.

Treatment of Advanced Aortic Disease

Patients are given recommended target blood pressure readings and encouraged to contact their doctor if their blood pressure drifts out of range. Patients also undergo periodic imaging studies to look for changes in the size of the involved portions for the aorta. Often, the imaging studies are either a special type of contrast-enhanced CT scan known as CT angiogram (or CTA) or a gadolinium- enhanced MRI known as an MR angiogram (or MRA).

Our specialists strive to provide the best-possible patient care, educate both patients and referring physicians about lifelong management of thoracic aortic disease and develop new treatment options. Treatment combines advanced therapies and the specialized expertise of, cardiac surgeons, vascular/endovascular surgeons and vascular radiologists. A collaborative approach to care allows specialists to optimally manage conditions such as:

  • Thoracic aortic aneurysms
  • Thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Ehlers Danlos syndrome
  • Acute and chronic aortic dissection
  • Intramural hematoma of the aorta
  • Penetrating atherosclerotic ulcers of the aorta
  • Coarctation of the aorta
  • Aortitis
  • Aortic transsection

Thoracic aortic diseases are unusual, complicated problems requiring complex solutions. Heart Hospital of Austin offers the most advanced treatments available and is a resource for patients with the full spectrum of thoracic aortic disease. If you or your patient suffers from advanced aortic disease, please call our referral nurse at (512) 478-3627 to find a physician specialist.

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