Expand Content

Aorta Center and Marfan & Connective Tissue Clinic

Thoracic Aorta / Abdominal Aorta

The aorta is the body’s main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The section of the aorta that starts with the aortic valve in the heart and goes to the diaphragm is called the thoracic aorta. The part of the aorta that extends from the diaphragm through the abdomen is called the abdominal aorta.

The aorta can become damaged and weak, causing it to become wider (aneurysm) or torn (dissection). It can also, in rare cases, become blocked (stenosis or occlusion). These problems increase your risk of having a life-threatening event. Damage to your aorta can be caused by an injury or certain diseases and health conditions. These include:

  • Atherosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries").
  • Medial degeneration.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Genetic conditions (such as Marfan Syndrome).
  • Other connective tissue disorders (such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Loeys-Dietz Syndrome, bicuspid aortic valve disease, osteogenesis imperfecta, polycystic kidney disease and Turner Syndrome) and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (such as aortitis).

Many patients with thoracic aorta conditions also have problems with the aortic valve. This requires having the aortic valve repaired or replaced at the same time the problem with the thoracic aorta is corrected. Patients with abdominal aorta conditions may also have problems with the blood vessels that are attached to the aorta and need additional treatment.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that more than 43,000 patients die each year from aortic diseases. If you have an aortic disease, it is important to be treated by an experienced team of cardiovascular specialists and surgeons.

Connective tissue provides support to many structures within the body, such as the heart valves, blood vessels (the aorta), eyes, bones, nervous system and lungs; therefore, patients with connective tissue disorders require a multi-disciplinary approach to their care and long-term follow-up.

The mission of the Aorta Center is to bring together a knowledgeable and experienced multidisciplinary team of cardiology and vascular doctors and surgeons and other experts to provide:

  • A thorough evaluation of patients using state-of-the art diagnostic testing
  • Ongoing comprehensive care of patients with disease of the aorta, connective tissue disorder and Marfan Syndrome
  • Genetic screening for families of patients with genetic disorders
  • Ongoing research and education to provide patients with high quality and innovative therapies
Resources
  1. Svensson, LG, Rodriguez ER. "Aortic organ disease epidemic, and why do balloons pop?" Editorial, Circulation. 2005 Aug 23; 112(8): 1082-1084.
  2. Svensson LG, Blackstone EH, Cosgrove DM 3rd. "Surgical options in young adults with aortic valve disease". Curr Probl Cardiol. 2003 Jul; 28(7): 417-80.
  3. Svensson, Lars G and E. Stanley Crawford. "Cardiovascular and vascular disease of the aorta".  W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia (1997).
Recent Important Publications and Reports

The Aorta Center is made up of a multidisciplinary group of specialists in cardiology, cardiac surgery, vascular medicine, vascular surgery, cardiothoracic anesthesia, cardiovascular imaging, genetics, ophthalmology and orthopaedic surgery. These clinicians provide expertise in genetic and diagnostic testing, medical management and surgical and endovascular procedures, and are dedicated to provide care to patients with all types of aortic disease. These include:

Our Marfan Syndrome and Connective Tissue Disorder Clinic provides specialized care for patients with:

Because of our breadth and scope of expertise we are able to offer a full range of treatments. Our surgeons are experienced in techniques that involve the aortic root, aortic valve and the most complex procedures involving the entire aorta and branch arteries.

Why choose Cleveland Clinic for your care?

Our outcomes speak for themselves. Please review our facts and figures and if you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask.

Cleveland Clinic performs approximately 1,200 aorta operations each year, 900 on the thoracic aorta and some 1,500 aortic valve procedures. Our heart surgeons perform 300 – 400 heart operations each year.

Download

Collaboration among heart and vascular doctors, surgeons, diagnosticians and other medical specialists allows us to provide each patient with a thorough evaluation, follow-up and treatments to meet their individual needs.

Eric Roselli, MD

Eric Roselli, MD - Director, Aorta Center

Our Medical Team

(* Physicians with an asterisk (*) by their name specialize in treating patients with Marfan disease and connective tissue disorders)

Surgical Team
Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery
Vascular Surgery

(B) - Vascular Surgeons who perform branched endograft surgery
(F) - Vascular Surgeons who perform fenestrated endograft surgery
(*) also specialize in Marfan Syndrome

Cardiothoracic Anesthesia
Pediatric & Congenital Heart Surgery
Clinical Team
Tomsich Family Department of Cardiovascular Medicine
Pediatric Cardiology

* Also specialize in Marfan and Connective Tissue Disease

Advanced Imaging Team (CT and MRI)
Other Specialties
Genetic Counseling: Genomic Medicine Institute
Ophthalmology
Orthopedic Surgery
Registry
Rhematic & Immunologic Disease

* Also specialize in Marfan and Connective Tissue Specialists

What to Expect

Whether you are coming from around the corner or around the world, you want to know what to expect before, during and after your visit with us. If you have any questions while reviewing this information, please contact us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.

Becoming a Patient by Discipline

Due to the nature of aorta disease, your needs as a patient can guide your care. For example, you may want to have regular follow-up over a long period of time, or maybe you have just been diagnosed with aorta disease and need to establish a care and treatment plan. Perhaps you are exploring treatment options and need a surgery consultation. We can also help if you have Marfan syndrome or a connective tissue disorder and need a comprehensive treatment plan. No matter what your needs, we are here for you every step of the way. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call.

Clinical Team Appointments

If your scheduled appointment is at least one week away, you will be asked to send in a copy of your medical records, including a medical history, test results and films (echocardiogram, ultrasound, chest X-ray, MRI, CT). All information should be sent in the same package (clearly marked with your name and address) via Airborne Express, Federal Express, or certified U.S. mail (make sure you have a tracking number) to the physician you will be seeing at Cleveland Clinic. Your appointment may be with Vascular Medicine (Desk J3 - 5), Cardiovascular Imaging (Desk J1 - 5) or Clinical Cardiology (Desk J2 - 4), depending on your condition and needs.

The address to mail your records is:
Physician Name
Cleveland Clinic
Desk # 
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44195

If your scheduled appointment is less than one week away, please bring your records to your appointment.

Traveling to Cleveland Clinic

To help make your visit to Cleveland Clinic as easy as possible, please visit:
Information on travel to the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute.

What to expect during your appointment

Your appointment will begin by meeting with a nurse or physician assistant (PA) who will collect information about your medical history, symptoms and test results, and enter your information into our electronic medical record. This will help the doctor during your exam.

You may need blood and imaging tests, such as an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, MRI or CT scan. The specialists in the Aorta Center will use these tests to help diagnosis your condition or create an individualized treatment plan for you. A cardiologist from the Aorta Center will review your records, take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and, if needed, consult with other physicians in the Aorta Center to discuss your condition. If you need to meet with one of the multidisciplinary specialists, they will be consulted and we hope to arrange a meeting with them within a day to limit travel to and from Cleveland Clinic. The Aorta Center cardiologist will talk to you about your diagnosis and plan of care within 1 to 2 days, depending on when your test results are completed.

How long will you need to stay at Cleveland Clinic?

You should plan on spending 1 to 2 days in the Cleveland area. Your stay may be longer if a treatment is scheduled at the time of your visit.

Follow-up

Your doctor will talk to you about your plan for follow-up care.

Cardiovascular Surgery Team Appointments

If you would like information about your surgical options for your aorta disease, you can send your medical records in for a review. The process involves several steps:

  • Contact the Heart and Vascular Institute Resource Nurses, who will collect information such as your contact information and the type of surgery you need.
  • The nurses will give you a list of the information needed to complete the surgical review and tell you how to send in your information.
  • You will send in your records to be reviewed by one of our surgeons.
  • The surgeon’s office will call you to let you know about your surgical options. The process generally takes a couple weeks once we receive your films, unless your physician determines that there is an urgent need for surgery.
  • If you decide to have surgery at Cleveland Clinic, you will be given a surgery date.
What to expect during your appointment

You will need to arrive a few days before your surgery to have a full evaluation and meet your surgical team. You and your family will attend a program to prepare you for what to expect before, during and after your surgery. See Heart Surgery at Cleveland Clinic for more information about having surgery at Cleveland Clinic.

How long will you need to stay at Cleveland Clinic?

Your hospital stay depends on many factors, such as your condition, the type of surgery you need and your medical history. Generally, patients who live outside of the Cleveland area come to Cleveland a day or two prior to surgery, stay in the hospital 5 to 7 days, and stay in Cleveland at least one night after leaving the hospital before traveling home. We ask that you return to Cleveland Clinic for a post-op visit during the first week after you leave the hospital, so you may want to plan on staying in the area until after that visit.

Follow-up

Your doctor will talk to you about your plan for follow-up care.

Vascular Surgery Appointments

If your scheduled appointment is at least one week away, you will be asked to send in a copy of your medical records, including a medical history, test results and films (echocardiogram, ultrasound, chest X-ray, MRI, CT). All information should be sent in the same package (clearly marked with your name and address) via Airborne Express, Federal Express, or certified US mail (make sure you have a tracking number) to the physician you will be seeing at Cleveland Clinic. 

The address to mail your records is:
Surgeon Name
Cleveland Clinic
Desk F - 30
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44195

If your scheduled appointment is less than one week away, please bring your records to your appointment.

Traveling to Cleveland Clinic

To help make your visit to Cleveland Clinic as easy as possible, please visit:
Information on travel to the Miller Family Heart and Vascular Institute.

What to expect during your appointment

Your appointment will begin by meeting with a nurse or physician assistant (PA) who will collect information about your medical history, symptoms and test results, and enter your information into our electronic medical record. This will help the doctor during your exam.

You may need blood and imaging tests, such as an MRI or CT scan. The specialists in the Aorta Center will use these tests to help diagnose your condition or create an individualized treatment plan for you.

A vascular surgeon from the Aorta Center will review your records, take a medical history, perform a physical exam, and, if needed, consult with other physicians in the Aorta Center to discuss your condition. If you need to meet with one of the multidisciplinary specialists, we will try to arrange a meeting with them within a day to limit your travel to and from Cleveland Clinic.

The Aorta Center vascular surgeon will talk to you about your diagnosis and plan of care within 1 to 2 days, depending on when your test results are completed.

How long will you need to stay at Cleveland Clinic?

You should plan on spending 1 to 2 days in the Cleveland area. Your stay may be longer if a treatment is scheduled at the time of your visit.

If you need to have vascular surgery at the time of your visit, the amount of time you spend in the hospital will depend on many factors, such as your condition, the type of surgery you need and your medical history. Generally, patients who live outside of the Cleveland area come to Cleveland a day before their surgery, stay in the hospital 3 to 7 days, and stay in Cleveland at least one night after leaving the hospital before traveling home.

Follow-up

Your doctor will talk to you about your plan for follow-up care.

General Information - Aorta Center

By Phone

Department of Cardiovascular Medicine
216.444.6697 or toll-free 800.223.2273, ext. 46697

Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery
toll-free 866.289.6911

Department of Vascular Surgery
216.444.4508 or toll-free 800.223.2273, ext. 44508


Directions

Cleveland Clinic is located at:
9500 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44195

Your appointment will be scheduled in the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute (J or F Building).

When you make your appointment, ask for your physician’s name and desk number.

You may find the following links helpful:

If you have trouble finding your physician’s desk once you arrive at Cleveland Clinic, you can ask any of our Red Coats for directions. They are happy to help.

Online

Use our secure online form to submit an appointment request 24/7. We will receive it and follow-up with you as soon as possible.



Online Second Opinions

Use our secure online form to submit an online second opinion request.



Physician Referrals

Mon. - Fri., 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. (ET):
toll-free 800.659.7822

At all other times, call Patient Access Services locally 216.444.8302 or toll-free 800.553.5056

For Patients

Cleveland Clinic Heart & Vascular Institute physicians, surgeons and researchers continue to study new treatments and therapies to help improve patient care and outcomes.

Overview

The aorta is the body’s main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. For patients with Marfan syndrome, the aorta can become damaged and weakened, causing it to become wider (aneurysm) or torn (dissection).

Connective tissue provides support to many structures within the body, such as the heart valves, blood vessels (the aorta), eyes, bones, nervous system and lungs. Because of this, patients with connective tissue disorders need a multidisciplinary approach to their care.

The mission of the Marfan and Connective Tissue Disorder Clinic is to bring together a knowledgeable and experienced multidisciplinary team of cardiology and vascular doctors and surgeons and other experts to provide:

  • A thorough evaluation of patients using state-of-the art diagnostic testing
  • Ongoing comprehensive care for patients with disease of the aorta, connective tissue disorder and Marfan syndrome
  • Genetic screening for families of patients with genetic disorders
  • Ongoing research and education to provide patients with high quality and innovative therapies
Who We Treat

The Marfan Syndrome and Connective Tissue disorders Clinic is made up of a multidisciplinary group of specialists in cardiology, cardiac surgery, vascular medicine, vascular surgery, cardiothoracic anesthesia, cardiovascular imaging, genetics, ophthalmology and orthopaedic surgery. These clinicians provide expertise in genetic and diagnostic testing, medical management and surgical and endovascular procedures, and are dedicated to provide care to patients with all types of aortic disease. These include:

Our Medical Team

Our Medical Team

Surgical Team

Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

Vascular Surgery

Clinical Team

Tomsich Family Department of Cardiovascular Medicine

Pediatric Cardiology

Other Specialties

Genetic Counseling: Genomic Medicine Institute

Ophthalmology

Orthopedic Surgery

Rheumatic & Immunologic Disease

Make an Appointment

Patients with Marfan syndrome or connective tissue disorders need a comprehensive treatment plan to care for their health into the future.

To start your care, contact the Heart & Vascular Institute Resource and Information Center. Our nurses will get more information about you and your condition.

The next step is to send us medical records to help us begin planning your care. We will let you know which information you need to send. Send all records in the same package (clearly marked with your name and address) via Airborne Express, Federal Express, or certified US mail (make sure you have a tracking number). The address is:

Marfan and Connective Tissue Disorder Clinic
C/O Dr. Kalahasti
Cleveland Clinic
9500 Euclid Avenue – Desk J1-5
Cleveland, OH 44195

The nurse practice manager will gather your information and review it with the medical team. They will contact you, then schedule your appointments required for an evaluation. Based on your condition and history you may be scheduled for echocardiogram, pulmonary function test, CT angiography, MRI, Electrocardiogram or other studies.

You will meet with a cardiologist and genetics specialist. Other specialists that may be included are ophthalmologist, orthopedic specialist, rheumatologist and a cardiothoracic surgeon.

What to expect during your appointment

Please arrange to stay in the Cleveland area for 1 to 2 days to complete your appointment and testing.

First, you will meet with a nurse who will collect your information, and ask questions about your medical history.

Next, you’ll meet with a cardiologist who will review your information and test results and do a physical exam. You will also meet with a genetic specialist and other specialists as needed. Your team will give you information about your condition and the best plan for your care and treatment.

Follow-up

Your team will let you know how often you need to have follow-up appointments. The need for follow-up is based on your evaluation and treatment plan. Your follow-up care may be able to be done over the phone.

Traveling to Cleveland Clinic

We want to make your trip to Cleveland Clinic as easy as possible. For helpful information, click here:

More Information

To make an appointment or get more information, click here to contact us , chat online with a nurse or call the Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute Resource & Information Nurse at 216.445.9288 or toll-free at 866.289.6911. We would be happy to help you.

Conditions


Video Information - Tab One

Video Information - Tab Two

Treatments


Video Information - Tab One

Video Information - Tab Two



Additional Presentations and Videos

Reviewed: 02/15

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
Obese Children Have Greater Risk for Adult Heart Disease
3/27/15 7:00 a.m.
For many people, obesity starts developing in early childhood, when good dietary and exercise habits are neglected. It’s important for parents to know there’s l...
by Children's Health Team
Is Heart Disease In Your Genes?
3/26/15 8:07 a.m.
Do you wonder why some smokers develop heart disease, but others don’t? Or how someone who thrives on burgers a...
Heart Patients: 3 Common Medications You May Need to Avoid
3/25/15 8:47 a.m.
If you’re being treated for a heart condition, medicine cabinet staples such as aspirin and ibuprofen may not b...
Should You Take Aspirin If You Are on Blood Thinners? (Video)
3/23/15 8:09 a.m.
Aspirin. It’s one of the oldest drugs in medicine. As it continues to be valuable, we also keep learning ...
Technique Beefs Up Your Heart’s Pumping Power
3/19/15 8:42 a.m.
Our hearts rely on perfectly timed contractions to squeeze and refill an average of 100,000 times a day. When t...