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Risk Factors & Symptoms

An aortic aneurysm is a silent, slow-growing disease that shows no symptoms, and is often only incidentally discovered through imaging exams.

Checking everyone for thoracic aortic aneurysm doesn’t make sense. However, speak with your physician if you have any of the following risk factors:

  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • A bicuspid aortic valve
  • Early aortic valve surgery (under the age 70)
  • Certain genetic conditions or connective tissue disorders
  • A parent, sibling, or child who has a thoracic aortic aneurysm or who has experienced a dissection, rupture or unexplained sudden death.
  • Trauma to the aorta (like being in a car accident)
  • Smoking
  • Inflammatory processes

The signs and symptoms of aortic dissection or rupture of the aorta:

  • Can be confused with the signs and symptoms of a heart attack
  • Sudden onset of severe chest, neck, back, or abdomen pain that has a ripping, stabbing or tearing feel
  • Unlike heart attacks, which start out with low-grade pain or discomfort – the pain of a dissecting aneurysm is immediate and intense

With any chest pain – call 911 for immediate assistance and transportation to the nearest emergency room.

For additional information on risks, signs and symptoms, feel free to visit community resource The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health.

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