Everyone has heard of an aneurysm before. Ascending Aortic Aneurysms are known for striking out of nowhere and more then likely causing thousands of deaths per year. Unfortunately it is possible to be at risk of an aneurysm and not even realize it. There are different types of aneurysms that exist and all of them are extremely difficult for people to figure out until something happens. An ascending aortic aneurysm is what I will be discussing in this article and what you need to know about it.
When discussing an ascending aortic aneurysm you need to include all of the different aspects that are involved with what can happen. Ascending aortic aneurysms include a number of types of aneurysms that can occur on part of the aorta that is close to the heart.
Each is named for its location on the aorta. Just as a reminder for some of you out there, the aorta is the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The aorta is divided into four sections:
- Ascending Aorta: Projects upwards from the heart.
- Aortic Arch: Forms an arch at the highest point.
- Descending Thoracic Aorta: Passes downward through the chest.
- Abdominal Aorta: Travels through the abdomen.
The average diameter of the aorta is about two and a half centimeters. Generally when the aorta swells to three and a half centimeters it is considered dilated. However when the aorta begins to swell and reaches four and a half centimeters it is considered an aneurysm.
When an aneurysm occurs on the aorta doctors and medical professionals will refer to it as an aortic aneurysm. If it occurs on the section of the aorta called the ascending aorta, it will be referred to as an ascending aortic aneurysm. Now when an aneurysm occurs on any of the first three sections of the aorta that are listed above, it would be known as a thoracic aortic aneurysm.
Types Of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms
Ascending Aortic Aneurysm:
As I have already mentioned, a thoracic aneurysm gets its name from the part of the aorta where it occurs. When the swelling is found on the part of the aorta that rises from the heart the ascending aorta is called an ascending aortic aneurysm. Generally you will find that these aneurysms will cause leakage of the aortic valve, which is the heart valve that divides the left ventricle and the aorta. In some severe cases you will find symptoms such as the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Heart failure
- A dull pain the chest radiating to the upper back
Aortic Arch Aneurysm
Aneurysms typically occur on the aortic arch. This is the section of the aorta where the arches begin the descent through the lower chest, these therefore are referred to as aortic arch aneurysms. This variety of aortic aneurysms can cause chest pains as well. The larger this aneurysm gets the more it can compress the esophagus causing difficult in swallowing.
Descending Aortic Aneurysm
Descending aortic aneurysm occur on the portion of the aorta that descends from the highest point. These rarely produce symptoms. Sometimes you will find that patients will complain of back pain before these aneurysms strike.
Risks – Ascending Aortic Aneurysm
These aortic aneurysms typically do not come with any kind of warnings which really makes them incredibly hard to detect if not almost impossible. As long as the aorta remains stable there will be no warning that there is a problem.
Typically when a rupture or dissection happen, which is when there is a tearing or the aortic wall, it will generally produce dramatic results. Patients will often experience a ripping sensation in their chest accompanied by sever pain between the shoulder blades. They also may find it extremely difficult to walk, speak and will more then likely be dizzy.
When signs such as dizziness, speaking and walking become difficult this will indicate that something extremely severe has occurred and an emergency situation is present.
Unfortunately about half the patients that experience a rupture or dissection of the aorta will die before they ever reach the emergency room. Of the patients that will actually end up making it to the emergency room twenty five to fifty percent of them will die will on the operating table.
For those who experience an ascending aortic aneurysm or an aortic arch aneurysm this is even more true. However for patients who have noticed signs and symptoms and have spotted the aneurysm before it has happened (prior to any rupture) they will have a ninety fiver percent survival rate.