Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Aortic Dissection Anatomy

To better understand dissecting thoracic aneurysm, it helps to understand the anatomy of the aorta.

The aorta is the largest artery in the body. It starts at the heart and ends in the abdomen, where it branches into the iliac arteries. The thoracic aorta is the part of the aorta that resides in the chest.

The aorta is divided into three main segments:

  • Aortic arch: originates at the heart and supplies the coronary arteries.
  • Thoracic aorta: provides numerous branches, the intercostal arteries, which supply the chest wall.
  • Abdominal aorta: supplies the gut and then terminates in the iliac vessels, which supply the pelvis and lower extremities.

Last Updated: Sep 17, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Aortic Dissection References
  1. Aziz S, Ramsdale DR. Acute dissection of the thoracic aorta. Hosp Med. 2004 Mar;65(3):136-42. [15052903]
  2. Chiles C, Carr JJ. Vascular diseases of the thorax: evaluation with multidetector CT. Radiol Clin North Am. 2005 May;43(3):543-69, viii. [15847815]
  3. Elefteriades JA. Perspectives on diseases of the thoracic aorta. Adv Cardiol. 2004;41:75-86. [15285220]
  4. Rogers RL, McCormack R. Aortic disasters. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 2004 Nov;22(4):887-908. [15474775]
  5. Teece S, Hogg K. Best evidence topic report. Peripheral pulses to exclude thoracic aortic dissection. Emerg Med J. 2004 Sep;21(5):589. [15333542]
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