Aortic ectasia: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment
Aortic ectasia is characterized by a dilation of the aorta artery, which is the artery through which the heart pumps blood throughout the body. This condition is usually asymptomatic, being diagnosed, in most cases, during routine exams.
Aortic ectasia can be abdominal or thoracic, depending on the affected portion of the artery, and when small, it usually does not cause symptoms, and no specific treatment may be indicated. However, ectasia can increase and develop into an aneurysm, which can cause symptoms such as chest pain and difficulty breathing, and require treatment, which may involve surgery. Learn what it is and what are the symptoms of aortic aneurysm.
Due to the risk of progression to an aneurysm, even though aortic ectasia usually does not cause symptoms, it is important to consult a cardiologist for a detailed evaluation and initiation of appropriate treatment when indicated.
Aortic ectasia can cause symptoms such as:
- Feeling of pulsation in the abdominal region;
- Pain in the abdomen;
- Back pain;
- Chest pain;
- Difficulty breathing;
- Difficulty swallowing.
Also, if sudden pain occurs throughout the abdomen or chest pain spreads to the back, it may be indicative of greater severity, especially if there is pallor, drowsiness and low blood pressure. In these cases, it is recommended to look for an emergency for evaluation.
Although ectasia does not usually cause symptoms, symptoms usually arise when the aorta is very dilated and may vary depending on the location of the ectasia. If aortic ectasia is suspected, it is important to consult a cardiologist.
Aortic ectasia is usually caused by a weakness in the aortic wall that causes the vessel to increase in size. This increase can be progressive over time and result in an aneurysm.
Also, diseases like atherosclerosis, hypertension or high cholesterol, or if there is a family history of aortic aneurysm or old age, there is a higher risk of developing aortic ectasia. In addition, genetic diseases related to the connective tissue, such as Turner Syndrome, Marfan Syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, are also factors that favor the emergence of ectasia.
How the diagnosis is made
As aortic ectasia usually does not cause symptoms, the diagnosis is made during routine exams through imaging tests such as echocardiogram, computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging, for example.
Treatment of aortic ectasia
Treatment is not always necessary and in some cases only regular monitoring is indicated to identify whether the diameter of the aorta is increasing in size. In these cases, the doctor may prescribe medication to reduce pressure in the aorta, such as antihypertensives or cholesterol-lowering medication.
However, if the doctor notices that the diameter is increasing in size or if the person starts to have symptoms, it may be necessary to resort to surgery, which consists of inserting a synthetic tube into the aorta.
Also watch the following video, and learn how to control blood pressure to prevent the development of cardiovascular diseases:
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Consult a Doctor | Translated by User2937
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