Disorders of the Aorta

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Disorders of the Aorta

Aortic aneurysm:
• dilation/distension of aortic wall from structural weakening of arterial wall
• due to atherosclerosis, collagen vascular disease, and aortitis
• common in Marfan’s syndrome
• most are asymptomatic; may have back ache, abdominal pain or lower limb claudication
• can present acutely with rupture  pain, hypotension

Aortic dissection:
• tear in intima of aorta
• associated with hypertension, cystic degeneration of wall of aorta (eg in Marfan’s syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome), previous surgery to aorta
• usually present with acute onset of chest and back pain, hypotension, asymmetry in pulses

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