The Aortic Center at The University of Tennessee Medical Center is East Tennessee’s referral center for abdominal aortic aneurysm and thoracic aortic aneurysm care.
Our regional referral center designed to provide easy and timely access for the evaluation and treatment of aortic aneurysms and other abnormalities of the aorta. The center combines unique resources with experienced specialists that provide compassionate care to patients. Our team of surgeons and clinical staff work closely together to ensure the best possible treatment for patients. As the region’s preferred hospital for the treatment of aortic disorders we strive to set the standard for quality care. Program highlights that allow the Aortic Center to provide unsurpassed leadership in the care of patients with aneurismal disease include:
The Aortic Center offers treatment for emergent and non-emergent diseases of the aorta such as:
Aneurysms occur most often in the aorta, the main artery of the chest and abdomen. The aorta carries blood from the heart to all parts of the body including the vital organs, legs and feet. It’s estimated that more than one million Americans are living with an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) and don’t even know it; that’s because AAA typically presents with no symptoms. Only 10-25 percent of people will survive if their aneurysm ruptures. The good news is that with a simple ultrasound screening, AAA can be found early and effectively managed. Aortic aneurysms are caused by progressive weakening of the aortic wall. As the wall weakens a ballooning of the vessel occurs. The aneurysm may grow larger and eventually rupture if it is not diagnosed and treated. Early detection is the best way to prevent the serious risks of aortic aneurysms.
An aneurysm may be diagnosed by physical examination in your doctor’s office but is more often diagnosed by the use of non-invasive screening exams. These non-invasive exams are conducted on an outpatient basis and may include any of the following:
These non-invasive exams show the location and size of the aneurysm which will assist your physician in determining your best treatment option. Because aortic aneurysms may not cause symptoms, anyone age 60 or older who has risk factors for developing an aortic aneurysm should consider regular screening.
Ultrasound imaging of the abdomen is used to screen for abdominal aneurysms. This screening exam does not require a physician referral or order and may be covered by Medicare. If you have any of the risk factors listed above and would like to schedule a screening, please contact Healthcare Coordination at 865-305-6970.
Aneurysms that are smaller than two inches in diameter and do not cause symptoms may be monitored regularly using an ultrasound or CT scan, a practice called “watchful waiting.” People with small aneurysms and high blood pressure may be given medication to lower their blood pressure and reduce the risk of the aneurysm growing or rupturing. The size, location, symptoms and overall risk factors of the patient will determine if surgical treatment is necessary.
In the event that surgical treatment is necessary, patients may have two options for treating the aneurysms:
Your surgeon will determine the type of repair needed based on location and complexity of the aneurysm.