Aortic Disease Program | Tampa General Hospital

Tampa General Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Center is a leader in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. U.S. News & World Report has designated the TGH Heart and Vascular Center as high performing within the top 10% of U.S. hospitals. Given the complexity of aortic pathology, the Aortic Disease Program was created to provide comprehensive, evidence-based and individualized patient care using a multidisciplinary approach. Our team of medical professionals have national expertise in the treatment of aortic disease using traditional open and innovative endovascular approaches. Clinical research is critical to our mission, which affords patients access to custom-made endovascular aortic devices through industry-sponsored clinical trials. As such, the Aortic Disease Program team provides comprehensive diagnostic and protocols from simple to even the most complex aortic conditions.

 

WHAT SETS US APART

Our Team

Our team includes board-certified cardiac and vascular surgeons, anesthesiologists, vascular interventional radiologists, and many other medical professionals. Our expertise allows us to diagnose and treat the most complex cases of aortic diseases.

High Volumes/High Quality

Tampa General Hospital is a high-volume center for aortic procedures, performing over 300 thoracic and abdominal aortic operations each year. Our goal is to provide excellent patient care and outcomes, and these high volumes contribute to our ever-expanding expertise in treating all types of aortic diseases.

Advanced Technology & Research

TGH doesn’t just practice medicine, we define it. This is evident in our commitment as a world-class academic hospital to provide our patients with the most technologically advanced procedures that make surgery safer with reduced recovery times and hospital stays.

Our multidisciplinary team of physicians evaluate each individual patient to create a customized treatment plan. This treatment plan involves some of the best medical management to careful operative planning to achieve the best long-term result.

For example, our vascular surgeons are national leaders in treating juxtarenal aortic aneurysms using the Cook Zenith® Fenestrated (Zfen) stent graft, a procedure that only six other hospitals in the nation have the technology to perform.

Diseases We Treat

The aorta experts at Tampa General Hospital’s Heart & Vascular Institute treat the following aortic diseases:

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:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Medial degeneration
  • Bicuspid aortic valve disease
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Connective tissue disorders

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.

Symptoms of Aortic Diseases

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

Treatment for Aortic Diseases

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. Learn more about aortic surgery.

Clinical Trials

Because our goal is to always offer the most advanced open and endovascular techniques to manage all diseases of the aorta, TGH physicians are involved in numerous new device trials as well as medical management trials. We are involved in studies evaluating the efficacy of doxycycline to prevent AAA growth in patients and the effectiveness of a new, low-profile device used to treat thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm (TAAA).