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 a 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.
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.