Aortic surgery is required when a section of the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from your heart to your body, is damaged, often by an aortic aneurysm.

What is the aorta?

The aorta is the main artery that carries blood away from your heart to the rest of your body. After the blood leaves the heart through the aortic valve, it travels through the aorta, making a cane-shaped curve that connects with other major arteries to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the brain, muscles, and other cells. When a problem occurs with the aorta, the heart and the entire body’s blood supply can be in jeopardy.

When would I need aortic surgery?

If your aorta is seriously damaged, you may need aortic surgery. The aorta can suffer serious damage as a result of an aneurysm, for example. An aortic aneurysm is a weakened or bulging area on the wall of the aorta, which may occur anywhere along its length.

There are two main treatment options for aortic dissections and aneurysms: surgery and/or medications. Surgery is performed to repair or replace the injured section of the aorta. Medication is used to lower blood pressure and reduce risks of rupture. Medications are not a treatment option in an emergency situation.