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Saint Thomas Heart

Aortic Disease

What is Aortic Disease?

An aortic dissection is a true emergency, and survival depends on immediate medical action.

The Saint Thomas Heart Aortic Center shortens the window of time between diagnosis and treatment by providing community hospitals - who may not have the advanced equipment and resources required to care for an aortic dissection - with one number to call and one place to turn when they need to transfer a patient.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Sudden chest, back, neck or abdominal pain
  • Unconsciousness
  • Paralysis or loss of function of a limb

Risk Factors

Some people are at an increased risk for aortic conditions of dissection. Risk factors include:

  • History of cardiovascular (heart) disease
  • History of brain aneurysm
  • Kidney Cyst
  • Bicuspid Aortic Valve (Heart Murmur)
  • Aortic Coarctation (usually treated as a child or infant)
  • Prior aortic or vascular surgery
  • Family history of aortic aneurysm
  • Family with sudden cardiac death
  • Family history with genetic conditions (connective tissue disorders)


  • Blood Pressure control
  • Medications to slow heart rate (Beta-Blocker)
  • Cholesterol lowering medication
  • Life Style change
    • Quit smoking
  • Surgical intervention


Aortic Disease Specialists

Chand Ramaiah, MD
Chand Ramaiah, MD
Mark A. Zenker, MD
Mark A. Zenker, MD
Ashok Babu, MD
Ashok N. Babu, MD
Jeffrey B. Gibson, MD
Jeffrey B. Gibson, MD

JimBob Faulk, MD

Jeffrey B. Dattilo

Julie Guthrie