The aorta is the largest blood
vessel in the body. It sends oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. An
aortic aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the aorta. Over time, the
blood vessel balloons and is at risk for bursting (rupture) or separating (dissection).
This can cause life threatening bleeding and potentially death.
"Thoracic" refers to
the part of the aorta that runs through the chest (thoracic aortic aneurysm). Aneurysms
occur more often in the portion of the aorta that runs through the abdomen (abdominal
Once formed, an aneurysm will
gradually increase in size and get weaker. Treatment for a thoracic aneurysm may
include surgical repair or removal of the aneurysm. Or it may be treated by inserting a
metal mesh coil (stent) to support the blood vessel and prevent rupture.