Skip to main content
Update Location

My Location

Update your location to show providers, locations, and services closest to you.

Enter a zip code
Select a campus/region

Aortic disease

The aorta is the body’s largest artery. It is also the vessel responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Conditions that affect the aorta and interfere with its vital role are called aortic diseases and can often be life-threatening.

Why choose UF Health Jacksonville?

Our multidisciplinary teams specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of aortic disease. Patients benefit from advanced imaging capabilities, the latest medicines and cardiac and vascular surgeons with years of experience in minimally invasive surgical techniques. Your care team will perform a comprehensive examination and work with you to provide a personalized plan that will offer the best possible outcomes.

Aortic disease: Types

• Aortic aneurysms can occur when the walls of the aorta are weakened or damaged by tears causing the vessel to bulge or swell, and if severe can cause it to burst.

• Aortic valve stenosis, or aortic stenosis, can result from a narrowing or thickening of the aortic valve that interferes with the flow of blood away from the heart.

• Aortic dissection is caused by a tear in the inner layer of the wall of the artery, which can divert the blood flow from where it is needed in the rest of the body. The blood flowing through the tear may cause a weakness in the wall that can lead to a life-threatening rupture.

Aortic disease: What you need to know

• Aortic disease can develop over many years without symptoms. Immediate care may be needed if you experience symptoms such as: chest or upper back pain or pressure, shortness of breath, neck or jaw pain, dizziness or fainting.

• Aortic ruptures can often require emergency surgery. These serious complications may be prevented by early diagnosis and treatment.

• If your aortic disease is discovered early, it can often be managed with medication, frequent monitoring and making changes in your lifestyle.

Aortic disease: Surgical options

Our surgeons have vast experience with both minimally invasive procedures and open repairs to the aorta. They will discuss your surgical options and find what best fits your unique situation.

Endovascular stent grafting is a minimally invasive method to treat aortic aneurysms, which can be life-threatening. These stent grafts are placed through a small incision in the groin area, so patients avoid major operations on the abdomen and chest. The procedure may also be used to repair aortic dissections or tears in the inner layer of the aortic wall.

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a minimally invasive procedure that is sometimes used to replace a diseased aortic valve if a patient has aortic stenosis. TAVR is performed by a team of interventional cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons specializing in structural heart disease procedures. Learn more about Transcatheter aortic valve replacement.

Open aortic surgery

In some instances, the best lifesaving option may be open surgery to repair the aorta. Whether the procedure is being done after an aneurysm ruptures or as a preventative measure, your surgeon may need to remove the damaged part of the blood vessel and replace it with a graft, or synthetic tube. The graft then serves as the new lining for the blood vessel.

Open surgery may also be used to replace a poorly working aortic valve, which is one of four in the heart. If the valve is not functioning properly, open surgery may be needed to add an artificial valve that will ensure an unrestricted blood flow.

Reoperative open aortic surgery

A second surgery or a “redo” open aortic surgery may be needed to correct problems that have developed years after an initial procedure. In some cases, a prosthetic valve may have deteriorated or another area of the aortic wall may have weakened or developed a tear, requiring another operation. Although a redo surgery may be complicated by the patient’s age or scar tissue from the first surgery, our cardiac surgeons have experience with these complex surgeries and the expertise needed to successfully improve heart function and reduce symptoms for the patient.

Our locations

See all 4 locations

Our experts