A thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is a balloon-type bulge (aneurysm) in a weak or damaged wall of your aorta (your body’s largest artery).
The term “thoracic” refers to your chest. This type of aneurysm occurs in the portion of your aorta that’s located in your chest. (Your aorta runs from your heart all the way down to the bottom of your abdomen).
Most TAAs develop in the section of your aorta closest to your heart. They can prevent the valve between your heart and aorta from closing, which lets blood leak back into your heart.
Any type of aneurysm can be life threatening. TAAs are especially dangerous because they often have no symptoms until they rupture and become medical emergencies.
Aneurysms can be caused by a variety of factors, including health/lifestyle factors, conditions that weaken your arteries or genetic conditions. Learn more about all types of aneurysms.
You are in excellent hands when you choose an Aurora Health Care location for diagnosing and treating a TAA. Here’s why:
You may have a TAA and feel no symptoms at all. However, if the aneurysm gets large enough, it could press on nearby organs or block blood flow. In that case, symptoms could include:
If a TAA gets worse and ruptures, you need immediate, emergency medical care. Signs of a rupture may include:
Because they can be so dangerous, it’s important to identify and treat TAAs as quickly as possible.
If you don’t have any symptoms, but you’re at risk for developing aneurysms (for instance, you smoke or are an older male), your Aurora medical team may talk with you about it. Your doctor will probably suggest regular screening tests for aneurysms.
The most common tests we use for TAAs include:
Find out more about heart and vascular testing and diagnosis at Aurora.
We offer a variety of options for treating TAAs. They include: