What is the difference between aortic dilation and aortic aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm is a swelling or widening in a certain part of the aorta system, the main artery of the body. This part helps to carries oxygen generated from blood and circulates to the rest of the body. To know more details about this you can search the net and get the idea. When the upper body is affected it is termed thoracic aortic aneurysm. A thoracic aortic aneurysm is also known as descending or ascending aortic aneurysm.

Causes of an aortic aneurysm

Symptoms & causes of aortic dissection

Basically, aorta is very elastic by nature and can adapt to the requirement when blood flows, by stretching or by shrinking, expanding, or contracting. But certain disorders like atherosclerosis and high blood pressure, due to which arteries harden, and artery walls become weak. With advancing age, there is also regular wear and tear. All the problems result in the weakening of the aortic wall, This bulges out.

Atherosclerosis is the cause of supravalvular aortic aneurysm, and is related to hypertension. Whereas aortic root aneurysm is due to the aortic wall degeneration. A supravalvular aneurysm is treated by a  supracoronary tube graft, whereas the aortic root aneurysm requires the aortic valve to be spared r may even require replacement. Supravalvular aortic aneurysms are not so common and mostly affect males in the age group of   59 to 69 years. Aortic root aneurysms affect patients who are 30 to 50 years of age.

Symptoms and diagnosis

Aortic aneurysms usually do not exhibit any symptoms. A doctor may realize that there is a disorder creeping out of certain pathological tests all done for some other purpose. Screening tests for aneurysms helps the doctor look for the disease before any symptoms show up. However, symptoms of belly and chest pain, or back pain or some sort of discomfort may start showing up. These symptoms might occur occasionally or may persist. Tests are also suggested for abdominal aneurysms in men who are 65 to 75 years of age and have been smokers, or at least 60 years of age and are closely related to some one who is a patient of an aneurysm.

These men are in the high-risk zone of having the aneurysm than women or nonsmoking men are. Tests for thoracic aneurysm is also recommended by experts for those people whose close relative might have had this disease. Doctors may prescribe for an ultrasound check or an MRI or a CT scan to verify his doubts and check the growth rate or size of an aneurysm. The worst part is that an aneurysm can rupture at any time if left unattended or goes unnoticed. This causes acute pain or hurt and bleeding and often leads to passing away within few minutes or within a few hours.

It also includes several other problem. The blood flows slowly through the swollen part of an aortic aneurysm, reasoning clots to shape. The broken blood clots can able to block the blood flow and it attacks with stroke. Similarly, blood clots that break loose from the belly area, can block the blood flow to the belly or the legs.


An aortic aneurysm can be treated, depending on its size and the rate of growth. If it is large enough and growing at an alarming rate, a surgery is the only solution. An open heart surgery or a minimally invasive procedure is done by an expert surgeon to fix the spoiled portion of the blood vessel. Small aneurysms that may not burst, is usually treated with medicines which are used to control high blood pressure. These medicines work on lowering the pressure of blood inside the artery, thereby relieving some stress on the aortic wall.

In the absence of any surgical procedure, regular ultrasound tests are to be done to check whether an aneurysm is growing bigger or not. Chances of a heart problem loom large even if an aneurysm does not gets or grow ruptured.. Therefore the doctor might suggest a healthy diet, regular exercise, and not to smoke. The doctor might also set down medicines to keep high cholesterol levels in check.

Aortic dilation

How serious is torn/Ruptured aorta

The word dilation means widening up of the aorta. When the dilation of the aorta is greater by 1.5 cm than its normal size it is called an aortic aneurysm. If the dilated aorta is left untreated there is a high risk of dissections or aortic rupture. According to studies, dilation of the ascending aorta is the reason behind 50% of all thoracic aneurysms. Studies also suggest that there are other factors that might be responsible for dilation of the aorta , eg, smoking, high blood pressure, renal failure, male sex etc.

Isolated dilation of the ascending aorta needs special attention and care so that the critical size of dilation at which there is a risk of rupture that becomes greater than the risk of surgery can be identified correctly.

By transthoracic echocardiography, the dilation of the ascending aorta can be verified. Yet, physicians have a limited knowhow and lack experience regarding a dilated ascending aorta, though they are trained for treating heart and coronary artery diseases.

Studies show that aortic aneurysms are the leading cause of death in western countries. Detection is difficult as the thoracic aortic aneurysm is a silent disease, that has to be diagnosed early, monitored closely and carefully and appropriate and timely preventive therapies to be undertaken. It is mostly asymptomatic until a fatal incident happens.

It is therefore urged that the right attention is paid to these faint symptoms of thoracic aneurysm disease. When these changes are noted, imaging is needed to be done to clear the doubts about an aneurysm. Though it is clinically silent, it can be detected with the help of small physical indications.