Aortic dilation

Causes of Aortic Aneurysm

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most important and most dangerous diseases that many people may suffer from, as many of these diseases may not show any symptoms to the patient, which may cause sudden death, and one of the most dangerous of these diseases is the dilation of the aorta.

What is the aorta? 
The aorta is the largest and the most important blood vessel in the human body, which transfers oxygen-loaded blood from the heart to the rest of the body. 

Aortic aneurysm: 
Aortic dilation or aortic aneurysm is a condition in which the artery increases in size by one and a half times its normal size, which increases the risk of the artery rupture, which often leads to death.

Is an aortic aneurysm a rare disease? 
Contrary to what many people think, this disease is common and affects about 5% of men over the age of 60, and some studies in Britain showed aortic aneurysm is the seventh cause of death in the United Kingdom.

Why is an aortic aneurysm considered the silent killer? 
An aortic aneurysm is a very dangerous disease that may cause death, and the danger of this disease is that there are no symptoms in many cases, and most of the cases are diagnosed with an aneurysm too late after the rupture of the artery, The death rate that occurs as a result of aortic rupture is about 80% of the total cases, and the other 20% remains at risk of death if the case is neglected or is not treated correctly and quickly.

Causes of aortic dilatation: 
Many causes and factors contribute to aneurysm, the most important of them are: 
- Decreased levels of collagen in the vascular wall. 
- Arteriosclerosis. 
- Bacterial infections. 
- Hypertension. 
- Diabetes. 
- Aging.
- Soft tissue diseases. 
- Genetic causes. 

Symptoms of aortic dilatation: 
A patient with an aortic aneurysm may not show any symptoms, but symptoms often appear in the late stages in which the artery ruptures, the most important of these symptoms are:
- Feeling pain in the abdomen. 
- Back pain. 
- Suddenly low blood pressure. 
- Increased heart rate. 

Symptoms may differ if the expansion of the aorta is in the chest area, which makes the patient suffers from one of the following symptoms: 
- Chest pain. 
- Hoarseness or change in voice.
- Persistent cough. 
- Shortness of breath. 

Risk factors: 
There are many factors that increase the risk of an aortic aneurysm, such as: 
- Smoking. 
- People who drink alcohol. 
- People with high blood pressure that are not treated well. 
- People who are under severe stress. 
- People over 60 years old. 

Treatment of aortic dilatation: 
Early detection and treatment of the causes of aortic expansion is the first stage of treatment that the doctor works on, in which the patient may take some medications  to regulate pressure and blood glucose, but in some cases where it has been proven that there is an expansion and dilation in the artery may need to surgical intervention, and the most important of these surgeries are aortic stent placement. It is one of the most important and successful surgeries used to treat aortic dilatation, as this process creates a blood pathway within the dilated artery through the stent to decrease the risk of aortic rupture.

How is aortic stent placement performed?
The vascular surgeon chooses the appropriate stent according to each case, he takes the stent measurements very accurately to avoid any complications after the surgery. The patient is placed under general or partial anesthesia, and the stent is installed in the area of ​​expansion through a catheter, and for this surgery, the width of the expansion is required to be larger than one and a half centimeters to install the stent and avoid any complications. 

Post aortic stent placement: 
The patient should follow the instructions prescribed by the vascular surgeon such as:
- After one month after the surgery, the patient should perform a CT scan. 
- Regular check up by a CT scan every year. 
These are done to make sure that the stent is centered inside the artery in its proper place, according to the measurements that were taken before the surgery. 

Aortic aneurysm surgery: 
The stent may not be suitable in some cases, so the vascular surgeon will replace the damaged part of the aorta with another artificial part. 

Preventive principles to avoid aortic rupture: 
- A periodic examination of the aorta for people over the age of 60 can be done by ultrasound or CT scans that accurately detect the presence of an aneurysm in the artery. 
- Treatment of the causes of aortic dilation, and regulating blood glucose and cholesterol levels. 
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.