Tortuous aorta

Tortuous aorta

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

The aorta is the main artery of the body that exits the heart and delivers blood to every organ of our body. A tortuous aorta is a twisting or distortion of the aorta that brings on the narrowing or constriction of that vessel, which can cause blood flow to be blocked. This condition, although not immediately life threatening, can lead to high blood pressure, aortic insufficiency or premature atherosclerosis. A tortuous aorta is common in the elderly, but can also happen to younger people who experience

Sometimes the area in aorta gets blocked automatically due to certain obstructions. Such problem is known as tortuous aorta. The most common reason is the distortion in shape of the aorta due to the twist or even kink in the pathway. In such cases, the distortion or the blockage limits the supply of blood to the body due to which the body organs cannot function properly. Loss of circulation and high blood pressure are the common problems associated with tortuous aorta.

Some people have a tortuous aorta and experience no ill health effects as a result of their slightly unusual anatomy, while others can experience complications. This condition can be diagnosed with the use of medical imaging studies which reveal the structure of the aorta and other blood vessels in the body. Such studies may be performed for unrelated reasons, or because a doctor suspects that a patient has an aorta abnormality.

Having a tortuous aorta is not necessarily a cause for concern, but patients should make sure that it is noted in their medical charts because it may become relevant during treatment. In addition, surgeons usually like to know ahead of time about unusual anatomical features in their patients, and forewarning about an abnormal aorta is a good idea. The surgeon or surgical team may want to take special steps to protect the health of the patient.


High blood pressure is the common problem associated with tortuous aorta as the blood flow is interrupted and restricted. When the condition worsens atherosclerosis can affect the person. In such circumstances, the plaque forms lining inside the blood vessels due to which blood supply becomes limited. In grave conditions the esophagus too gets altered. Due to the twisting or distortion in the aorta, the esophagus gets pressurized due to which it evokes strong pain.Shortness of breath and chest pains may also present due to the physical changes in the spine or chest wall. Muscle fatigue and blockages in the blood flow due to the narrowing of the aorta passages can also be observed.


tortuous aorta

If your physician suspects a tortuous aorta, he/she will have imaging tests done to examine the structure of the heart and blood vessels surrounding it. This will provide further information on the severity of the condition and give direction to possible treatment options. How dangerous is a tortuous aorta is a question that can be answered on an individual basis at this point. If evidence of damage is discovered, such as hardening of the artery, action will have to be taken to lessen the risk of serious complications. The answer to how dangerous is a tortuous aorta may be "not very" in circumstances where the condition has caused no additional issues within the cardiovascular system. Often, these low-risk cases are discovered by pure chance, during testing for other diseases or conditions. If there are symptoms present, it is more likely that the tortuous aorta is dangerous in that case. If a case of tortuous aorta is dangerous, your physician may recommend surgery to correct the abnormality.


Many treatments are available in the medicinal world to combat the problem of tortuous aorta: This may include:

    Bypass graft repair. This technique involves bypassing the narrowed area by inserting a plastic tube called a graft between the portions of the aorta.

  • Resection with end-to-end anastomosis. This method involves removing the narrowed segment of the aorta (resection) followed by connecting the two ends of the aorta together (anastomosis).

  • Balloon angioplasty: Instead of surgery, sometimes balloon angioplasty is preferred although over the years its efficiency has been under question. In this procedure, the doctor puts in a catheter inside the aorta and through it places a small balloon inside it. Now when this balloon is placed well at the position of distortion, it is inflated so that the artery gets widened. So as to hold the artery in the same open position, a stent is placed.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


  1. Zgłoszenie szkody benefia

    Ciekawe informacje muszę przeczytać więcej na ten temat. Ktoś wie gdzie znajdę więcej info na ten temat

  2. Marcia Williams

    Thank you. Newly dx by echo bubble post stroke while being treated for GBM , brain. M..D has not told me. Saw report. Test during not seeing him until Nov 29. More troubles with leg pain and ice cold. Pulses seem ok. Retired RN. Know good specist in tis field. Watching foods that I eat. In remission. Just miss my walks. Slowed down since strike. Thank you for thiss site.

  3. Woody

    I have a tortuous aorta, and it’s killing me, and the dumb$hit cardiologist I have doesn’t do anything about it. He’s to F’in stupid!

    • editor-m

      It’s time to change your doctor and find other alternatives. Good luck in your treatment.

  4. Max

    Is drinking caffeine dangerous with a torturous aorta?

    • editor-m

      Thanks for comment. We recommend to consult your doctor in such case. The condition should be examined more precisely.

  5. Lynne Campbell

    I found out I had a tortuous aorta after an X-ray for an unassociated condition, almost a year ago. I was put on statins, blood pressure tablets and an aspirin a day. I have felt very tired, always have cold hands and feet, and now I have chest pain on my right side (more a throbbing pain) and I find myself breathless often and also seem to stop breathing for a few seconds while I am asleep, which wakes me with much alarm as I feel my heart has stopped.

    • Amy

      Your breathless and heart stopping feeling when you wake is most likely from sleep apnea of one form of another. Get to a sleep doctor and get a sleep study done. Having sleep apnea is dangerous and I’m guessing adding that to the tortuous aorta makes it more important to followup with a sleep doc and cardiologist. Good luck.

  6. Judy Fisher

    I had an x-ray for pneumonia. They found i have a tortuous aorta which is also calcified. Earlier i had such chest pain it felt like a sliding hiatal hernia. Not sure what the best course i should take.

  7. Jeannette

    I was diagnosed with a tortuous aorta a while ago. Recently been told I have a large clot in the right lung, put on blood thinners and it has been suggested there maybe heart damage.
    I was also born with Primary Immune Defeciency
    I have no energy, struggle to breath when I walk up stairs or if I go into my old pattern of walking faster just cannot do it . This changed in 3 days
    I went from fast walking to extreme lack of breath and weekness.
    .could the Tortuous aorta be responsible for this?..

    • maisteri

      As tortuous aorta is a chronic condition it may gradually impair the heart function due to the blocked blood outflow, but it is unlikely to cause an acute heart dysfunction. So probably there must be another heart-related problem responsible for the symptoms you are experiencing. You should visit a doctor and be examined carefully.

  8. mark spencer

    my mother have a tortuous aorta. that doctor found that in her x-ray result it is that a dangerous to her please answer my question . and what should be do for that

    • maisteri

      High blood pressure is the most common complication of the tortuous aorta. Atherosclerosis is also associated with this condition. As the aorta is curved some internal organs or the lower limbs may suffer due to the reduced blood supply. Tortuous aorta may be managed surgically or with the help of balloon angioplasty, although if it causes no symptoms and is mild, it may be left untreated.


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