Diseases of the aorta

The most common diseases of the aorta

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Aortic dissection
  • Aortic isthmus stenosis
  • Marfan syndrome
  • Aortic Arch Syndrome
  • Takayasu arteritis
  • Aortic rupture
  • Aortic valve stenosis
  • Aortic valve insufficiency

Aortic aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm is a congenital or acquired aneurysm of the vessel wall. A true aneurysm affects all wall layers. In contrast, a false aneurysm only affects the intima and media, the adventitia remains intact.

Causes for such a sacculation can be Often an aneurysm of the aorta, especially in the abdominal area (abdominal aortic aneurysm), shows no symptoms and is rather accidentally discovered. If the vessel wall ruptures, there is an acute danger to the patient’s life from bleeding to death. A rupture can also occur without an aneurysm in accidents (e.g. car accident with impact on the steering wheel). – Atherosclerosis

  • Infections
  • Inflammations
  • Traumas (accidents)
  • Congenital genetic connective tissue diseases such as Marfan syndrome

Aortic rupture

Aortic rupture describes a tearing of the aorta, usually caused by an accident or trauma, which is life-threatening for the patient and must be surgically treated as soon as possible. A typical cause is a car accident with a so-called deceleration trauma. This describes the interruption of a jerky movement, as occurs in a car accident on impact.

Often the rupture of the aorta is found at the isthmus, i.e. the transition of the aortic arch into the section of the aorta lying in the chest. The consequences are extreme pain and severe blood loss, which leads to shock. An X-ray or CT image can be taken for diagnostic confirmation. If the suspicion is confirmed, surgery must be initiated as soon as possible and the aorta must be sutured again at the ruptured site. Unfortunately, the blood loss is often so severe that patients die relatively quickly after the aortic rupture and hospital treatment comes too late.

Aortic Stenosis

Aortic stenosis is both the primary narrowing of the aorta and aortic valve stenosis. Stenosis of the aorta is often caused by arteriosclerosis, which results in the deposition of fat, connective tissue, thrombin and calcification of the wall layer of the vessel and the lumen of the artery becomes smaller over time. The risk of arteriosclerosis of the aorta is due to the increased mechanical stress on the constricted vessel, which can lead to tearing of the vessel wall with bleeding and/or formation of a thrombus (vessel occlusion).

Unfortunately, aortic stenosis caused by arteriosclerosis goes unnoticed for a long time. Signs such as dizziness, tightness in the chest or motor or neurological deficits during light physical activity can indicate massive arteriosclerosis and require medical clarification. However, arteriosclerosis is age-related and is almost always present in people over 80 years of age. Aortic stenosis can also be caused by congenital malformations of blood vessels, but this occurs rarely.