Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

Ask the Heart Expert

Dr. Howard SongQuestion

I have a thoracic aortic aneurysm. What caused it and do I need surgery?


An aortic aneurysm is a weakened and bulging area in the aorta, a major vessel that carries blood from your heart to your entire body. Aneurysms in the upper aorta are thoracic aortic aneurysms. They are associated with smoking, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis, and can be passed down through families.

Surgery is the best treatment if your aneurysm is large or fast growing because it may rupture and cause internal bleeding. Surgery addresses the problem by replacing the damaged area in your aorta.

OHSU's Heart Surgery Program offers the most advanced treatments for aortic aneurysms. Treatments include endovascular surgery, which is less invasive than open chest surgery and can reduce your recovery time. We’re also pioneering new surgical techniques that can repair, rather than replace, an aortic valve affected by an aneurysm. To learn more, contact OHSU Adult Cardiac Surgery at 503 494-7820.

Ask the Heart ExpertThis Q&A does not constitute medical advice. For specific medical advice regarding testing, evaluation or diagnosis, consult your healthcare provider or a licensed healthcare professional.