A thoracic aortic aneurysm happens in the chest. An abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is more common, happens below the chest
What is aortic aneurysm?
An aortic aneurysm is a balloon-like bulge in the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso.
Aortic aneurysms can dissect or rupture:
- The force of blood pumping can split the layers of the artery wall, allowing blood to leak in between them. This process is called a dissection.
- The aneurysm can burst completely, causing bleeding inside the body. This is called a rupture.
- Dissections and ruptures are the cause of most deaths from aortic aneurysms.
Thoracic aortic aneurysm
A thoracic aortic aneurysm happens in the chest. Men and women are equally likely to get thoracic aortic aneurysms, which become more common with increasing age.
Thoracic aortic aneurysms are usually caused by high blood pressure or sudden injury.
Signs and symptoms of thoracic aortic aneurysm can include the following:
- Sharp, sudden pain in the chest or upper back
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble breathing or swallowing