Aortic Diseases | Tampa General Hospital

Aortic Diseases

At Tampa General Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Institute, we are proud to offer world-class care and expertise in heart and vascular health. Our commitment to excellence is underscored by our recognition as "High Performing" in Heart & Vascular care by U.S. News & World Report for 2023-24. This prestigious designation places us in the top 10% of healthcare institutions nationwide.

The Heart and Vascular Institute encompasses our Aortic Disease Program and our Women’s Heart Program, both of which comprise dedicated teams of specialists and cutting-edge facilities. We provide exceptional care and treatment for patients with aortic diseases and recognize the differences in heart health that affect both men and women.

Causes of Aortic Diseases

The most common cause of aortic disease is having a health condition that affects the heart, aorta or nearby arteries, such as:

Having a genetic condition like Marfan, Turner’s or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or an autoimmune disorder could also cause aortic disease.

Furthermore, aortic disease can be the result of a traumatic injury, such as an auto accident. If you have high blood pressure or a history of cigarette smoking, you may also be at greater risk.

Aortic Disease Symptoms

The symptoms of aortic disease vary based on the type of disease you have. For example, aortic dissection presents with symptoms similar to stroke while an aortic aneurysm may bring about hoarseness and difficulty breathing.

Some common symptoms all aortic diseases share include:

  • Pain and tenderness of the chest, upper back or abdomen
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid, weak pulse
  • Leg or arm pain

Diagnosis of Aortic Diseases

Diagnosing aortic disease can be difficult, but the first step is to have a physical exam and discuss your medical history and symptoms with a doctor. This helps to distinguish if you’re experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke or if aortic disease may be at play.

Imaging tests will also be ordered based and can include:

  • Abdominal and intravascular ultrasounds
  • CT scans and MRIs
  • Transesophageal echocardiograms (TEE)
  • Angiograms
  • Duplex ultrasonography
  • Angiographies

Aortic Disease Treatment

There are two main treatments for aortic disease:

  • Medication – Often used to stabilize a patient before surgery, medication helps to reduce their heart rate and lower their blood pressure. It can also be used on its own, combined with lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking and eating healthier.
  • Surgery – Open abdominal surgery and endovascular repair are two of the most common surgical treatments for aortic diseases.

Physicians in the Aortic Disease Program are national leaders in the field of aortic diseases and thus have access to industry- and physician-sponsored clinical device trials. These devices are often the most advanced technologies offered in our country and help establish the future of aortic disease management. Our physician-modified endograft program is one of the busiest in the country, providing patients with complex aneurysms access to custom-made endografts — a treatment option that they would otherwise not have.

Become a TGH Patient

If you or a loved one is facing aortic diseases, Tampa General Hospital is here to provide you with world-class care. Our expert team is ready to guide you on the path to improved health and well-being. To become a patient at our specialized Aortic Disease Program, contact us today or call (813) 844-3900 to take the first step toward a healthier tomorrow. Your heart health is our priority, and we're here to support you every step of the way.