Diagram of Ascending Aorta
The anatomy of the heart is quite amazing. In particular, the aorta is fascinating. According to ShareCare, the aorta is the largest artery (vessel) in the human body and is responsible for carrying blood from your heart to the rest of your body.
Many patients ask me, "What does the aorta look like?" and "Where is my ascending aorta?" For this reason, I found and posted below a diagram of an ascending aorta.
Specific to heart valve disease... If a patient suffers from an aortic valve disorder, he or she may develop an aortic aneurysm which is a bulging or swelling of the aorta. If not properly managed, an aortic aneurysm can dissect. An aortic dissection can be life-threatening. Unfortunately, an aortic dissection was the cause of John Ritter's untimely death in 2013. To help educate people about aortic aneurysms, the comedian's family formed the John Ritter Foundation.
As shown in the diagram above, the ascending aorta connects to the aortic valve. One type of aortic valve disease, known as a bicuspid aortic valve, can cause an aortic aneurysm. Blood flow through a bicuspid aortic valve is turbulent thereby putting pressure and strain on the aortic wall - causing it to grow and weaken, according to Dr. Eric Roselli at the Cleveland Clinic.
The great news is that if an aortic aneursym is detected, it can be managed and successfully treated using traitional and/or minimally-invasive surgical techniques.
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To help you learn more about aortic aneurysms, heart valve disease and treatment, here are educational resources you might like:
- Aortic Aneurysms & Heart Valve Disease: What Should Patients Know?
- Patient Story: How Did 4D-MRI Help John Time Aortic Aneurysm & Bicuspid Valve Surgery?
- Can My Aortic Valve Be Saved During Aortic Aneurysm Repair Surgery?
- Surgeon Q&A: Does Exercise Cause An Aortic Aneurysm To Grow?
- Top 5 Facts About Your Aorta
- Free eBook: Advances in Aortic Valve & Aneurysm Surgery
Page last updated: January 14, 2019