Understanding the Aorta and Its Job in Circulation
The aorta is the main artery that carries blood away from your heart to the rest of your body. The blood leaves the heart through the aortic valve. Then it travels through the aorta, making a cane-shaped curve that allows other major arteries to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the brain, muscles and other cells.
The aorta can be more than an inch wide in some places and has three layers:
- Inner layer (intima)
- Middle layer (media)
- Outer layer (adventitia)
When a problem occurs with the aorta, the heart and the entire body’s blood supply can be put at risk.
Cuando se producen problemas aórticos
Un aneurisma aórtico es una debilidad o hinchazón del área de la pared de la aorta.
A problem with the aorta can quickly become a medical emergency. Serious problems with the aorta may include:
- Aortic Aneurysm – May occur in either the chest (called a thoracic aneurysm) or anywhere along the aorta such as in the abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysm).
- Disección aórtica
¿Qué es un aneurisma aórtico?
Un aneurisma aórtico es un área debilitada o hinchada en la pared de la aorta, que puede darse en cualquier lugar a lo largo de su longitud.
Aortic aneurysms can cause two problems:
- Rupture: The weakened or ballooned area may develop a hole, called a rupture, that allows blood to burst out into the body.
- Disección: La sangre bombeada con fuerza a través de la aorta puede dividir las capas de la pared arterial, permitiendo que la acumulación de sangre se filtre en el espacio continuamente, lo cual divide más la pared arterial.
An aortic dissection is a split between the layers of the aorta that traps blood coming from the heart. This can lead to aortic rupture or decreased blood flow (ischemia) to organs.
¿Cuáles son los síntomas de una emergencia aórtica?
Some of the symptoms, such as chest pain and jaw pain, are generally associated with a heart attack. But sudden stabbing pain in the neck, jaw, abdomen, chest or shoulder, fainting, difficulty breathing and sometimes even sudden weakness may also be symptoms of an aortic event. Because the aorta travels from above the heart to below the navel, severe pain may occur at any place along this major vessel. Additional symptoms of a rupture may include clammy skin, nausea and vomiting or shock.
Aneurysms and dissections of the aorta are life-threatening medical emergencies.
¿Cómo es un aneurisma aórtico o la disección tratada?
The two main treatment options are surgery and/or medications.
- Surgery repairs or replaces the injured section of the aorta.
- Medication lowers blood pressure and reduces risks of rupture. Medications wouldn't be a treatment option in an emergency, but they may be appropriate if your doctor recommends them.
Estadísticas sobre el aneurisma aórtico y la disección
Impact: According to the CDC’s most recent statistics, aortic aneurysms were the main cause of nearly 10,000 deaths in the United States in 2018.
Risk: In 2018, about 58% of people who died from an aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection were male.
Además de la edad avanzada y la genética o los antecedentes familiares, las personas que tienen las siguientes condiciones pueden tener un mayor riesgo de sufrir un aneurisma aórtico o una disección aórtica:
- High blood pressure. The increased force of blood can weaken the artery walls.
- Genetic conditions, such as Marfan’s Syndrome, decrease the body’s ability to make healthy connective tissue.
- High cholesterol oatherosclerosis. A build-up of plaque may cause increased inflammation in and around the aorta and other blood vessels.
- Inflamed arteries. Certain diseases and conditions, such as vasculitis, can cause the body’s blood vessels to become inflamed.
- Trauma, such as car accidents.
- Smoking. People with a history of smoking make up 75% of abdominal aortic aneurysms.
Screening: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that men ages 65-75 who have ever smoked get an ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms, even if they have no symptoms.
People living with aortic disease or other heart-related conditions can improve their odds of living a longer and healthier life. It’s important to:
- Informar de cualquier síntoma inmediatamente.
- Realizar revisiones periódicas.
- Always take care of your heart health.