Give Online: Help shape patient care for generations to come.
Cleveland Clinic Logo

Appointments

800.659.7822

Request an Appointment

Questions

800.659.7822

Contact us with Questions

Expand Content

Aortic Aneurysm

Your Aorta

The aorta is the largest artery in the body and is the blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to all parts of the body.

The section of the aorta that runs through the chest is called the thoracic aorta and, as the aorta moves down through the abdomen it is called the abdominal aorta.

What is an aortic aneurysm?

An aortic aneurysm is an abnormal enlargement or bulging of the wall of the aorta.  An aneurysm can occur anywhere in the vascular tree. The bulge or ballooning may be defined as a:

  • Fusiform: Uniform in shape, appearing equally along an extended section and edges of the aorta.
  • Saccular aneurysm: Small, lop-sided blister on one side of the aorta that forms in a weakened area of the aorta wall.

An aneurysm can develop anywhere along the aorta:

  • Aneurysms that occur in the section of the aorta that runs through the abdomen (abdominal aorta) are called abdominal aortic aneurysms.
  • Aortic aneurysms that occur in the chest area are called thoracic aortic aneurysms and can involve the aortic root, ascending aorta, aortic arch or descending aorta.
  • Aneurysms that involve the aorta as it flows thru both the abdomen and chest are called thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms and thoracic aneurysm are not the only type of aneurysm.  Aneurysms can develop in other blood vessels:

  • Popliteal: an aneurysm in the artery behind the knee
  • Renal: an aneurysm in the kidney; a very rare condition
  • Visceral: an aneurysm in an internal organ and/or intestines

What are the symptoms of Aortic Aneurysm?

Symptoms of a thoracic aortic aneurysm (affecting upper part of aorta in chest):

  • Pain in the jaw, neck, upper back or chest
  • Coughing, hoarseness or difficulty breathing

Symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm (affecting lower part of aorta in abdomen):

  • Pulsating enlargement or tender mass felt by a physician when performing a physical examination
  • Pain in the back, abdomen, or groin not relieved with position change or pain medication

Early diagnosis of an aneurysm is critical to managing the condition and reducing the risk of rupture. If you have these symptoms, call your doctor right away.

Find a doctor who treats aortic aneurysm

Doctors vary in quality due to differences in training and experience; hospitals differ in the number of services available. The more complex your medical problem, the greater these differences in quality become and the more they matter. 

Clearly, the doctor and hospital that you choose for complex, specialized medical care will have a direct impact on how well you do. To help you make this choice, read more about our Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute outcomes. 

The Aorta Center includes a multidisciplinary group of specialists in cardiology, cardiac surgery, vascular medicine, vascular surgery, cardiothoracic anesthesia, cardiovascular imaging, genetics, ophthalmology and orthopedic surgery. These clinicians are experts in genetic and diagnostic testing, medical management and surgical and endovascular procedures.  They are dedicated to providing care to patients with all types of aortic disease

Learn more about experts who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of aorta disease

You may also use our MyConsult second opinion consultation using the Internet.

Contact

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

Becoming a Patient

Treatment Options

Additional information about aortic aneurysm treatment options can be found at:

Treatment Guides

Diagnostic Tests

Diagnostic tests are used to diagnose your abnormal heartbeat and the most effective treatment method.

Webchats

Our webchats and video chats give patients and visitors another opportunity to ask questions and interact with our physicians.

View a calendar of events and register for future chats. Check the calendar for topics that interest you!

Videos

Interactive Tools

Resource Links


*A new browser window will open with this link.
The inclusion of links to other websites does not imply any endorsement of the material on those websites nor any association with their operators.


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.

Download

Reviewed: 07/16

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