Aortic disease accounts a significant number of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality worldwide. The incidence of aortic diseases is expected to continue to rise throughout the United States as our population ages. The aortic valve is located between the main pumping chamber of your heart (left ventricle) and the main artery to your body (aorta). The aorta is the main vessel that sends blood away from the heart and to the rest of the body. When the main pumping chamber is not working properly, it may result in aortic valve stenosis or aortic valve regurgitation.
Aortic Valve Stenosis – This is when the aortic valve opening narrows. The narrowing of the valve obstructs blood flow from your heart into your aorta and the rest of your body because the valve is not fully opening.
Aortic Valve Regurgitation – When the aortic valve doesn’t close properly, blood can flow backward into the left ventricle.
Common Risk Factors
- Family history
- Genetic factors
Treatments for Aortic Disease
After completing a medical history and physical examination, your physician may request further screenings including a CT scan, MRI, or an ultrasound. Depending on whether your risk of rupture or dissection is higher than the potential for surgery, your physician will determine the next step. Surgical treatment options include:
- Endovascular surgery
- Hybrid aortic repair
- Hypothermic circulatory arrest
- Medical management
- Open aortic repair
- Transfusion-free surgery
You can take measures to monitor aortic disease by controlling your blood pressure level, heart rate, blood cholesterol level, sugar intake, and quitting smoking. Often avoiding activities such as heavy lifting and contact sports can significantly decrease your chance of an aortic rupture.
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