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Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments for Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms

Aorta is the major artery that is responsible for the transportation of fresh and oxygenated blood from heart to entire body parts. Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is a health condition that occurs when wall of aorta gets weakened or swollen. Slow-growing and small TAA may not result in any health issue but fast-growing and large TAA may get ruptured over a period. They may cause heavy bleeding which may eventually lead to life-threatening complications. Therefore, an appropriate thoracic aortic aneurysm treatment is necessary in severe cases.  Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments for Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms

Signs and Symptoms of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms

The following list describes the major signs and symptoms of TAA. Patients struggling with such abnormal symptoms must seek a medical assistance for minimizing health risks.

  • Tenderness in Chest – Patients may experience tenderness and pain in chest due to presence of TAA in their aorta.
  • Hoarseness and Cough – Hoarseness in voice and persistent cough are the most common warning signs associated with an aortic aneurysm thoracic.
  • Severe Back Pain – Patients may encounter severe back pain because of development of thoracic aortic aneurysms.
  • Shortness of Breath – Heavy breathing condition and shortness of breath after any simple physical activity could be potential signs of TAA.
  • Nausea and Vomiting – Patients suffering from an unrecognized TAA may experience nausea and vomiting sensation.
  • Swelling in Neck – Patients with an underlying TAA may get a noticeable swelling in their neck area. 

Causes and Risk Factors for Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms

Hardening of arteries due to high cholesterol levels or hypertension may give rise to TAA. In addition to this, faulty genes, untreated body infection like syphilis, severe physical injury and inflammatory disorders such as Takayasu arteritis or giant cell arteritis may also lead to the development of thoracic aortic aneurysms in an individual. The given list elaborates the major risk factors associated with TAA.

  • Age – Generally, TAA appears in later stage of life when an individual crosses the age of 65 years.
  • Family History – Family history of TAA is one of the major risk factors for the development of this condition in an individual. In such instances, patients must undergo a genetic screening test.
  • Tobacco Consumption – Medical professionals state that people who consume tobacco on a regular basis are more prone to getting thoracic aortic aneurysm
  • Medical Issues – Patients suffering from high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are at greater risk of developing thoracic aortic aneurysms. 

Diagnosing Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms

Patients must choose well-qualified and experienced cardiac surgeons for their thoracic aortic aneurysm treatment. It will considerably raise chances of successful outcomes. During initial appointment, doctors may request patients to clarify regarding the symptoms that are troubling them. Along with that, they may order any of the below medical procedures for confirming the diagnosis.

  • Chest X-Rays – Chest x-ray procedure is a painless and simple imaging procedure that involves generation of good quality images of patient’s internal chest area including their heart and nearby tissues.
  • Echocardiogram (Echo Test) – Doctors may implement this test in order to identify the functioning of patient’s heart. This test involves production of detailed images of aorta and entire heart with the help of powerful sound waves.
  • Computerized Tomography Test (CT Scan) – This is a specialized imaging technique that involves use of high-intensity x-rays in order to generate pictures of internal heart and structures present around it. This procedure is absolutely painless and patients just need to stay in front of scanning machine for a particular interval.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging Test (MRI Scan) – An MRI scanning technique is similar to CT scan technique. It uses powerful radio frequencies and magnets instead of x-rays for heart image generation.
  • Arteriogram (Angiogram) – This clinical procedure involves use of x-rays along with injection of a dye-like material in patient’s body to generate high-resolution images of blood vessels for detecting TAA condition.

Respective cardiac surgeons will determine best-suited treatments for patients after a thorough inspection of diagnosis report and their overall health.

Treatment Options for Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms

Main objective of thoracic aortic aneurysm treatment is to prevent an aneurysm from rupturing. Doctors may suggest medical monitoring and medicines for slow-growing and small-sized TAA. Whereas, they may advise a surgery for fast-growing and large aneurysms which are prone to breaking.

  1. Medical Monitoring – Medical monitoring is mainly recommended for patients with slow-growing and extremely small sized TAA. It involves regular appointments with cardiac surgeons for managing the symptoms of aneurysms and preventing it from getting worse. Doctors may advise imaging procedures such as CT scan or MRI after every six months for keeping a tab on patient’s health.
  2. Medications and Drugs – Doctors may recommend medicines and drugs to patients who have some additional health issues like atherosclerosis or hypertension.
  3. Surgical Approach – Respective cardiac surgeons may recommend any of the following surgeries to patients with large-sized TAA around 5 to 6 centimeters.
  • Open Chest Surgery – Open heart surgery is performed under influence of general anesthetics by using a heart-lung device. Patient’s heart is stopped temporarily and the heart-lung device performs the functions of heart. Patients are asleep throughout the operation which minimizes discomfort and uneasiness. Once everything is done, doctors make an incision in patient’s chest area for reaching the affected blood vessel. This surgical procedure involves removal of deteriorated portion of patient’s aorta and implantation of an artificial tube-like structure in its place. This tube is clinically referred as ‘graft’. Additionally, if patient’s aortic valve is also damaged, then doctors may also replace it with a mechanical valve during the surgery.
  • Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR) – During EVAR, doctors make a small incision in patient’s groin and use a specialized catheter device for reaching exact location in aorta. Respective cardiac surgeons are able to view internal condition of patients on a monitoring screen because catheter has a camera that captures real-time images. Once doctors access the precise location, they carefully insert a stent-graft inside the aorta for fixing the trouble-causing aneurysm.

Doctors may monitor patients for a couple of hours in order to control postoperative complications.

Risks and Complications Associated with Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Surgery

The following points explain major risks and complications associated with thoracic aortic aneurysm surgery.

  • Severe Bleeding – There may arise problems such as severe bleeding following TAA surgery. An immediate medical assistance is necessary for handling such cases.
  • Respiratory Complications – Patients may encounter serious respiratory issues like pneumonia after completion of their operation.
  • Kidney Failure – In some cases, permanent kidney failure may occur.
  • Irregular Heartbeats – Some patients may complain of irregular heartbeat problem following their TAA surgery. However, such complications can be managed by consuming essential medications.
  • Heart Attack or Stroke – Patients may get a heart attack or stroke following TAA surgery. Patients must stay careful and consult respective doctors immediately on observing any abnormalities.

Any negligence in postoperative period may prove fatal. Therefore, patients must stay careful until they recover fully. 

Recovery Following Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Treatment

Recovery will depend on specific type of treatment which is used for TAA. Doctors may advise patients to follow a healthy routine and quit tobacco consumption and smoking. Doctors may prescribe some medications to control high cholesterol levels as well as blood pressure of patients. Patients must exercise regularly and visit respective cardiac surgeons for follow-up care sessions. It will bring positive changes in their body and improve their overall quality of life.

Avail High-Quality Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Surgery in India with IndianMedTrip

IndianMedTrip is one of the most reputed healthcare tourism facilitators across the world. Healthcare experts at IndianMedTrip aim at providing high-quality treatment packages to each and every international patient. They have close association with all leading accredited multi-specialty hospitals and top cardiac surgeons in India who are well-versed in performing aortic aneurysm thoracic treatments. IndianMedTrip offers free online healthcare consultation to overseas patients in order to understand their requirements and health status and design most befitting treatment plan for them. They stay in contact with global patients throughout their treatment as well as during their recovery period even when they fly back to their domestic countries for ensuring their safety and health condition. Therefore, international patients seeking first-rate thoracic aortic aneurysm surgery in India in a hassle-free manner can entirely count on seamless medical services offered by IndianMedTrip.

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