I am
a patient
a visitor
a medical professional
a job seeker
an employee
who wants to

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