Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Dissecting Thoracic Aneurysm Overview

What is a dissecting thoracic aneurysm?
A person with a dissecting thoracic aneurysm has a swollen and weakened area in the wall of the aorta. The aorta is the largest artery in the body. The aorta begins at the heart and travels to the abdomen. A thoracic aneurysm is dissecting when the layers of the aortic wall are tearing apart. Over time, the aneurysm can rupture, which can cause death from sudden, severe bleeding into the chest. Causes of dissecting thoracic aneurysm include longstanding high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, syphilis, chest injury, Marfan syndrome, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

What are the symptoms of a dissecting thoracic aneurysm?
Common symptoms of a dissecting thoracic aneurysm include sudden severe chest pain that may spread to the back. Other symptoms include weakness, fatigue, excessive sweating, difficulty breathing, fainting, hoarse voice, and difficulty swallowing.

How does the doctor treat a dissecting thoracic aneurysm?
Treatment for a dissecting thoracic aneurysm may include medications to lower blood pressure and surgery.

Continue to Dissecting Thoracic Aneurysm Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 25, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Dissecting Thoracic Aneurysm 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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