What is an aortic prosthesis? | The aorta

What is an aortic prosthesis?

Just as there are prostheses for joints or entire extremities, there are also prostheses for the aorta, which allow normal blood circulation. The vascular or tubular prosthesis, also known as a tubular prosthesis, is usually made of plastic, such as polyethylene terephthalate, and is inserted into the part of the aorta that is damaged during surgery. First the damaged part of the artery is removed and then the prosthesis is implanted and sutured in an overlapping fashion.

In order to maintain blood circulation during the operation, a heartlung machine is connected. Depending on which area of the aorta is damaged, the connection of the heartlung machine and the actual insertion of the prosthesis can be problematic. An example is the prosthesis in the aortic arch, which is the site of the vessels leading to the brain and the upper extremities. Since the brain needs to be continuously supplied with oxygen, the phenomenon of hypothermia is used, in which the body is cooled down to a cool degree using the heartlung machine in order to reduce the maximum oxygen requirement more than three times. This gives the surgeons a certain amount of time to insert the prosthesis into the aortic arch without causing massive damage to the brain.

Lymph node of the aorta

There are numerous lymph nodes on the aorta and especially on the vascular branches of the aorta. In the lymph nodes there is a filtration of the lymph from the abdominal organs. The lymph nodes of the aorta are in a way a collection point for the lymph of the individual organs, because the outflow of lymph takes place in a specific order for each individual organ.

How long is the aorta?

The length of the aorta is usually 35-40cm, although the actual total length varies from person to person. In general, the ascending aorta has a length of 5-6cm and the descending aorta a total length of 25-30cm.

What is the normal diameter of an aorta?

The normal diameter of the aorta in adults is between 2.5 – 3.5 cm. In the course of life, however, the diameter can also increase. This is due to the loss of elasticity of the connective tissue, which also manifests itself as normal skin folds. However, the diameter can also decrease due to degenerative processes such as the calcification of the vessels (arterosclerosis).