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Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is a thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA)?

A TAA is a bulge in the upper part of your aorta. The aorta is a large blood vessel that goes from your heart down into your abdomen. The aortic valve opens to let blood flow from your heart into your aorta. The valve then closes to stop blood flowing back into your heart. A TAA can occur if the aorta or its valve is damaged, weakened, or not formed correctly. A TAA may continue to grow and rupture (burst), or it may dissect (tear) suddenly. A TAA that bursts or tears is a life-threatening emergency.

Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

What increases my risk for a TAA?

Your risk is increased if you are male or aged 60 or older. The most common risk factors are high blood pressure (BP), high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis (hard or stiff arteries). Any of the following can also increase your risk for a TAA:

What are the signs and symptoms of a TAA?

You may have no signs or symptoms. You may have any of the following if your TAA grows, bursts, or tears:

How is a TAA diagnosed?

A TAA may be diagnosed when you have a test done for another condition. Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your medical history. Tell the provider if you have any symptoms and when they started. Tell your provider about any medicines you take. You may need any of the following:

How is a TAA treated?

Treatment options

The following list of medications are related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

How can I manage a TAA?

Your healthcare provider may recommend cardiac rehabilitation (rehab). Cardiac rehab is a program run by a team of specialists who will help you create a management plan. Your plan may include these or other guidelines:

What do I need to know about family planning?

What do I need to know about screening for a TAA?

Your healthcare provider can give you specific information about your screening. The following is general information:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) or have someone call if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor or specialist?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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