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Aortic Surgery
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Cardiac Surgery Section

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Aortic Surgery Program
Aortic Diseases & DisordersDescending Thoracic Aneurysms

Descending thoracic aneurysms are those that occur above the diaphragm, and may include the aortic arch. The most common causes of thoracic aneurysms are idiopathic cystic medial degeneration, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), and genetic diseases such as Marfan syndrome.

Repair of descending thoracic aneurysms may be done through open surgery, with endovascular stent grafts, or with a combination of both procedures. Advances in surgical technique have resulted in increased use of stent grafts in the last 5 years. At the Columbia Aortic Center, surgeons now perform endovascular repair through the femoral artery, which has been shown to improve patient outcomes. When done as an elective procedure, this surgery has excellent results: 1% early mortality, 1% spinal dysfunction, and 3% incidence of stroke. To date, no patient has required re-intervention. These outcomes are comparable to those achieved with open (elective) surgery, with the advantage of a shorter hospital stay and a quicker return to function.

Read about treatments for descending aortic aneurysms.

Columbia University Medical Center NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Patient Clinician Researcher