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Aortic Arch Conditions

Overview of Aortic Arch Conditions

An aortic arch aneurysm is a common condition that is characterized by the formation of a bulge in the aortic arch. The aortic arch is the section of the aorta (the largest artery in our body) between ascending and descending aorta. 

The presence of a bulge occurs in the curve region of the aorta that is located in your chest. These aortic bulges or aneurysms can appear anywhere in the aorta; however, the most common ones are found in thoracic (thoracic aortic aneurysm) and abdominal (abdominal aortic aneurysm) regions.

The aortic arch aneurysm can be concerning if it grows in size. A large aneurysm can burst in severe cases and this can be fatal.

Signs and Symptoms of Aortic Arch Conditions

Aortic arch aneurysm can be there without any clear signs and symptoms. The presence of no symptoms means that proper medical checkups are required to figure out the problem. However, one can see the following signs and symptoms over time, including: 

  • Chest pain
  • Jaw or neck pain
  • Coughing 
  • Wheezing
  • Difficult breathing
  • Blood with coughing 
  • Raspy or strained voice
  • Painful swallowing 

Types of Aortic Arch Conditions

Causes of Aortic Arch Conditions

There are many possible causes behind aortic arch aneurysms. These include:

  • Atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis is known as the hardening of arteries that causes your arteries to become less flexible. This change can cause your arteries to become weak and pressure can cause the appearance of a bulge.  

  • Genetic Disorders: People who suffer from genetic conditions are at risk of developing problems like aortic arch aneurysms. The conditions such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome are considered to be responsible for such problems.

  • History: If anyone in your family is suffering from the problem then you have an increased risk of suffering from the problem.

  • Injuries: Suffering from injuries can also increase your risk of suffering from an aortic arch aneurysm.

  • Infection: The cause is not so common but having an infection that wasn’t treated on time can also be the cause of your suffering.

  • Medical Conditions: Some medical conditions such as arteritis (arteries inflammation) are associated with the risk of aortic arch aneurysm.

  • Heart Valve Problems: Not having a properly functioning heart valve is one cause that determines your risk of suffering from the problem.

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Risk Factors of Aortic Arch Conditions

Other than GERD there are many things that can increase your risk of suffering from GERD. These include:

  • Family History: The presence of disease in your family significantly increases your risk of suffering from the problem.

  • Age: Chances of suffering from aortic arch aneurysm increase as you age. There is an increased chance of suffering from the disease when you are above 65 years of age.

  • High Blood Pressure: If you constantly experience increased or high blood pressure then consider it as an important risk factor for the disease. This is because increased blood pressure can cause damage to your arteries. 

  • High Cholesterol Levels: High levels of cholesterol in your blood contributes to the triggering of acute myocardial infarction. You can lower your cholesterol by changing your diet or by taking specific medications such as statins as per the doctor’s prescription.

  • Poor Lifestyle Practices: Any of your lifestyle habits that affect your chances of suffering from a heart health problem are considered to be risk factors here.

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Prevention

Problem of an aortic arch aneurysm can be quite damaging for you once the size of the aneurysm grows. You can prevent the problem with following measures:

  • Abstaining from Tobacco: Tobacco consumption is one significantly important risk factor of the problem. Thus, abstaining from smoking can be an effective preventive measure.

  • Lifestyle Practices: If you want to prevent the onset of this aortic arch problem, then you need to adopt the right lifestyle practices to keep your heart healthy.


Heart Health Monitoring: As already discussed, the problem of aortic arch aneurysm can come along with your genes and with other medical conditions. Thus, regular heart monitoring is required especially if you are suffering from any of the risk factors.

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Diagnosis

Timely diagnosis of problems like aortic arch aneurysm is important for effective disease management. This is only possible with your doctor knowing about your medical history and performing the diagnostic procedures. Some of the important diagnostic procedures performed for aortic arch aneurysm include:

  • Chest X-ray: X-rays are considered to be an important diagnostic tool. This is one of the simplest ways to visualize the presence of a bulge.

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG): An ECG Test is usually performed to monitor the heart rhythms that can say a lot about your heart health. So, ECG is one of the effective means of diagnosing such problems. 

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI testing is usually done to obtain images of body organs and structures and this imaging is one effective tool to know about the proper functioning of your heart.

  • CT Scan: A heart CT scan is one of the effective testing procedures that are used to monitor the specific areas of your body. A heart CT scan give detailed images that are quite convenient to know about the functioning of your heart.

  • Angiography (DSA): Next among diagnostic procedures for heart health include angiogram. This technique uses X-rays to visualize blood vessels and can help to diagnose the problem of aortic arch aneurysm.

Treatment of Aortic Arch Conditions | When to Consult a Doctor

When it comes to the treatment of aortic arch aneurysm, here are a few options that are considered to be effective.:

Medication

To treat the problem of aortic arch aneurysm, certain medications can be used to manage the symptoms. These medications keep heart health parameters in check and keep your heart vesse;s healthy. Certain other medications also help to control the size of aneurysm. 

Surgery

Other than medication, surgical procedures are a great help to the problem of aortic arch aneurysm especially if it's growing fast. Common surgical options to treat the problems include stent graft (supportive tube insertion) and open surgery (repair using artificial blood vessels) and both of them.

If you have problems with heart function and constantly experience high blood pressure and high cholesterol, then consult the medical professional as soon as possible.