- About Us
- Conditions We Treat
- Treatments & Procedures
- Patient Information
Aortic Disease- Causes
Who Can Get Aortic Disease?
Aortic disease can occur in men and women of all ages, and may co-exist with other types of cardiovascular diseases. Congenital problems with the aortic valve or aorta itself (e.g. coarctation) may result in problems that become more apparent during adolescence or adulthood. Inherited diseases can lead to aortic aneurysms (enlargement) or aortic dissections (tear). The process of aging can lead to atherosclerosis of the aorta with involvement of the aortic valve. There are many different types of aortic disease that affect the aorta, and in some cases the aortic valve, which require surgical intervention.
Causes of Thoracic Aortic Disease
Atherosclerosis: Hardening of the arteries is a common disorder. It usually occurs when fatty deposits, called plaque, build up along the walls of your arteries. Atherosclerosis is a process that often occurs with aging. However, this process can occur at a younger age due to high blood cholesterol levels. Plaque is part of a process that has been shown to lead to a weakening of the aorta, known as an aortic aneurysm. Aortic aneurysms can break open (rupture), and cause bleeding that can be life threatening.
Congenital Disorders: An aortic valve normally consists of three leaflets and is referred to as a trileaflet valve. Your aorta may not have grown or developed normally, such as in a bicuspid aortic valve, which consists of only two leaflets. Individuals with a bicuspid aortic valve are at risk for developing an ascending aortic aneurysm. Occasionally, a congenital problem like coarctation (a narrowing of the aorta) can also be associated with an aortic aneurysm.
Genetic Syndromes: Genetic disorders of the connective tissue include Marfan Syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Loeys-Dietz, and Turner Syndrome. An individuals' normal biological connective tissue is composed of two major protein molecules, collagen and elastin, which can become defective and lead to loss of elasticity in the walls of the arteries in patients with connective tissue disorders. This can lead to the formation of an aortic aneurysm.
Trauma: Injury, particularly on the chest area, may lead to a partial or complete cut in the aorta
Acute Aortic Dissection: A Patient's Story