Appointments

800.659.7822

Request an Appointment

Questions

800.659.7822

Contact us with Questions

Expand Content

Thoraco-Abdominal-Aneurysms

Video by Roy Greenberg, MD
Staff Surgeon, Department of Vascular Surgery
Director of Endovascular Research and the Cleveland Clinic Peripheral Vascular Core Laboratory

Specialties: Carotid artery surgery, thoraco-abdominal aortic repair/reconstruction, thoracic aortic aneurysm repair, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, peripheral artery/vein repair/bypass surgery, aortic aneurysm stent repair, endovascular stent repair, endovascular stent research.

Hello. I’m Dr. Roy Greenberg, a vascular surgeon in the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute. Today, I’m going to talk about thoraco-abdominal aneurysms – what they are and how they are treated.

An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the wall of a blood vessel. Aneurysms can form in any blood vessel, but they occur most commonly in the aorta, which is the main blood vessel leaving the heart.

Thoraco-abdominal aneurysms, also known as TAAs, are a type of aneurysm that involves the aorta as it flows thru both the abdomen and chest.

Most TAAs are diagnosed incidentally, as there are rarely any noticeable symptoms. This has led them to be nicknamed the “silent killer.” TAAs are most frequent in males over the age of 65 who smoke or have a family history of cardiovascular or peripheral vascular disease, but can also occur in females and those without a history of vascular problems.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms are most related to atherosclerosis, a hardening of the arteries that damages the blood vessel walls. While your arteries are normally smooth on the inside, they can develop atherosclerosis as you age. When atherosclerosis occurs, a sticky substance called plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries. Whether the plaque build up in aneurysms is a cause of the aneurysm formation – or simply results from the abnormal blood flow patterns within an aneurysm remains to be determined.

TAAs are serious health risks because, depending on their location and size, the aneurysms may rupture or dissect, causing life-threatening internal bleeding. TAAs are the most complex type of aneurysms and treatment carries a risk of postoperative paralysis.

An aneurysm is treated depending upon its size, location and your overall health. Some small aneurysms are closely monitored by regular CT or MRI scans. However, large aneurysms, or those that are causing symptoms, require prompt treatment. The weakened section of the vessel can be surgically removed and replaced with a graft of artificial material. If the aneurysm is close to the aortic valve, a valve replacement may also be recommended during the procedure.

At Cleveland Clinic, our surgeons have extensive experience in repairing TAAs and are nationally known for publishing their findings. In addition, a great deal of pioneering work has been done in terms of device development to make the treatment for aneurysms less invasive. Specifically, our patients benefit from our knowledge on which type of repair will provide the best outcome and the fact that we can offer minimally invasive repairs not widely available.

For More Information


Reviewed: 04/11

Talk to a Nurse: Mon. - Fri., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m. (ET)

Call a Heart & Vascular Nurse locally 216.445.9288 or toll-free 866.289.6911.

Schedule an Appointment

Toll-free 800.659.7822

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2015 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

HealthHub from Cleveland Clinic

Read the Latest from Our Experts About » cctopics » Heart & Vascular Health
How Walking During Long Runs Can Improve Your Fitness
5/22/15 11:30 a.m.
A recent study found that periodically walking during long runs doesn’t cost you any benefits to your heart health -- and may even save some wear and tear on your muscles....
by Bone, Muscle & Joint Team
How Nurses Keep You Safe During Your Hospital Stay
5/20/15 8:33 a.m.
During your hospitalization, your nurse is the primary member of your caregiver team who will monitor your safe...
Are You Eating Good Fats or Bad Fats? (Infographic)
5/19/15 8:00 a.m.
For years, we’ve heard that saturated fat is bad for our hearts and that unsaturated fat is good. But exp...
Can You Prevent Narrowing of Your Aortic Valve? (Video)
5/18/15 8:20 a.m.
We’ve suspected for some time that high cholesterol is one of the risk factors for developing aortic sten...
11 Conditions You Can Develop If You Have Psoriatic Arthritis
5/14/15 9:00 a.m.
If you have psoriatic arthritis, the inflammatory arthritis that occurs with the chronic skin condition of psor...