The aorta, the largest blood vessel in the body, is the central channel carrying oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the body. There are two main categories of aortic disease:
- Aortic aneurysm (thoracic, abdominal or thoracoabdominal) – a bulge, widening or dilation of the aorta
- Aortic dissection – a tear or split in the aorta
Both conditions can be life-threatening and may need emergency treatment or repair.
Why Choose Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Specialists
Our experienced, multidisciplinary team of cardiac surgeons, vascular surgeons and vascular and interventional radiologists has the combined skills and experience to treat even the most complex cases of aortic disease. Our patients benefit from several specialists working together to deliver the best treatment options for each individual patient, whether that is a traditional surgery or a minimally invasive procedure. Our physicians are highly skilled in performing all methods of aorta repair.
Expert Care for All Conditions
Several conditions can increase the risk of developing an aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection, including atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), Marfan syndrome (a genetic disorder), peripheral artery disease (PAD), connective tissue disorders, high blood pressure, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and traumatic injury (such as from a car crash), among others. Whatever the underlying cause, our physician specialists have the expertise needed to meet each patient’s care needs. See our complete list of conditions related to heart and vascular disease.
Complete Vascular Diagnostics
Symptoms of aortic disease can mimic other conditions, so an accurate diagnosis is important to early treatment. Patients at high risk of aortic aneurysm or dissection should also be screened so problems can be identified and treated early. Several tests – especially imaging tests – can aid in diagnosing aortic disease, including:
See our list of advanced cardiac and vascular diagnostic tools.
As part of an academic medical center, we use the latest technology and research results to provide advanced treatments for aortic disease. Our physicians are all highly skilled in repairing the aorta with heart surgery, vascular and interventional radiology, minimally invasive catheter-based procedures, and other advanced procedures. Read more about our comprehensive treatments for aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection.
A Team Dedicated to Aortic Care
Our Aortic Disease Program offers a multidisciplinary team of experts working as a collaborative, integrated service. The dedicated team includes vascular surgeons, a vascular medicine specialist, vascular and interventional radiologists and cardiac surgeons who are all fellowship-trained and board-certified in their subspecialty. Team physicians work alongside nurses, physician assistants, cardiovascular technicians, dietitians, therapists, lab technologists and other team members to deliver the highest level of care – all in one location.
Our heart and vascular physicians conduct and participate in local and national research studies and clinical trials related to aortic disease and other heart and vascular conditions. See our list of clinical trials related to heart and vascular disease.