Complex Aortic and Visceral Arterial Disease
The Complex Aortic and Visceral Arterial Disease program aims at the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the abdominal aorta and its branches. The aorta is the largest artery in the body, extending from the heart, down through the chest (thoracic aorta) and into the abdomen (abdominal aorta).It carries oxygenated blood to all parts of the body.
The most common conditions include:
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a weak, bulging part of the aortic wall that can rupture (burst).Rupture of the aorta can lead to massive internal bleeding and death. Blood clots can form in an aneurysm. The clots can travel from the aneurysm and block blood flow in another artery, resulting in pain in the legs or toes or discoloration of the toes. Aneurysms can affect any artery in the body, but they most frequently occur in the abdominal aorta.
Viseral Arterial Disease
Mesenteric artery disease
The mesenteric arteries are blood vessels that carry blood to the intestines. These arteries can become blocked reducing blood flow to the intestines. Most artery blockages occur because of atherosclerosis, a slow process in which deposits of fat, cholesterol and calcium build up inside an artery, also known as plaque. A blood clot, called an embolus, can travel to one of the mesenteric arteries and cause sudden onset of symptoms. These clots usually come from the heart and are more common in people with an irregular heart beat. Aneurysms, a weakened, bulging part of the artery, can also occur and result in rupture of the artery.
Renal artery disease
The renal arteries are blood vessels that carry blood to the kidneys. Your kidneys help control blood pressure and eliminate waste products from your body. The arteries can become blocked reducing blood flow to the kidneys. Most artery blockages occur because of atherosclerosis, a slow process in which deposits of fat, cholesterol and calcium build up inside an artery, also known as plaque. When artery blockages occur in the renal arteries, the kidney is unable to perform its job. Fibromuscular dysplasia, abnormal tissue growth on the inside of the renal arteries, can also cause renal artery disease. Aneurysms, a weakened, bulging part of the artery, can also occur and result in rupture of the artery.
Ongoing clinical research trials at the Center for Vascular Disease are investigating new treatment options for aortic aneurysms and visceral disease to ensure that our patients continue to receive the most innovative care in the country. For more information regarding these clinical trials, visit the Clinical Trials Unit of Northwestern, send an email or call 312-926-4000.
For more information regarding aortic and visceral disease and the treatments available, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312-NM-HEART (664-3278) or request a first-time appointment online.