>> Monday, February 16, 2009
After discussing abdominal aortic aneurysm in my previous post, I would like to tackle and give some information regarding another dilatation in another part of the aorta, the thoracic aorta.
The thoracic aorta lies between the heart and the diaphragm and gives rise to the brachiocephalic, left common carotid. left subclavian, bronchial, esophageal and intercostal arteries. Thoracic aortic aneurysms are caused by cystic medial necrosis, atherosclerosis or less commonly by trauma, dissection or infection. Males are affected 3 times as often as females and factors include atherosclerosis, smoking, hypertension and family history.
Most aneurysms are asymptomatic. Rupture usually presents with chest pain or pressure. Expansion of the aneurysm can compress its surrounding structures like the trachea and the bronchus. Hypotension and tachycardia may be present and could also present with the triad of shock, distant heart sounds and distended neck veins.
As with abdominal aortic aneurysms, surgical management should be considered in aneurysms with a large diameter. Symptomatic presentation in an indication for immediate surgical intervention.