Aortic disease causes your aorta (the body’s largest and strongest artery) to split or enlarge. A bulge called an aneurysm can form in these weakened areas and increase your risk for stroke or a life-threatening artery rupture.
Heart specialists at the Aortic Center at MUSC Health’s Heart & Vascular Center use the most advanced tools available to diagnose aortic disease and start treatment quickly.
The MUSC Health Aortic Center: Why Choose Us?
At MUSC Health, we have the expertise and the technology to quickly and effectively diagnose and treat aortic conditions.
When you come to the Heart & Vascular Center for aortic care, you benefit from:
- Leaders in Aortic Disease Care: Our program is among an elite few in the country with experienced doctors who specialize in aortic diseases. Our team is dedicated to mastering the latest aortic disease treatments through research and clinical trials. Meet our team.
- Teamwork: Our aortic disease specialists collaborate with other heart experts at the Heart & Vascular Center on critical aspects of your care. This multidisciplinary team develops a treatment plan tailored to your unique heart structure and aortic problem.
- Latest Treatment Options: MUSC Health is among the top 15 medical centers in the country – and the most experienced in South Carolina – performing complex endovascular aortic procedures, including fenestrated endovascular aneurysm repair (FEVAR) and branched aortic endografts. These minimally invasive procedures for complex aneurysms result in smaller incisions, a shorter hospital stay, less pain, and a lower risk of infection.
- Advanced Technology: Our advanced imaging center ensures fast, accurate diagnosis. In our dedicated hybrid operating room, surgical teams perform both endovascular and surgical procedures.
- Convenient Care: The Aortic Center at Ashley River Tower provides all the services you need in one easy-to-access location. When possible, we schedule same-day appointments for all of your procedures and consultations. We partner with your referring physician to ensure long-term disease management.
Aortic Care at MUSC Health
Not all aortic aneurysms are emergencies. Depending on the seriousness of your problem, your doctor may recommend “watchful waiting.”
Aortic care services at MUSC Health include:
- Medication management of aortic disease.
- Medical management of health conditions like high blood pressure.
- Support for lifestyle modifications, including dietary changes and exercise.
- Genetic counseling.
- Patient and family education.
- Diagnostic imaging tests for ongoing disease management.
Minimally-Invasive Aortic Disease Treatments
The Aortic Center at MUSC Health provides the most complete array of aortic disease treatment options in the state. Open repair is considered the standard treatment for abdominal aortic aneurysms. Because this procedure requires a large incision in the abdomen or chest, it often means a longer hospitalization and recovery.
Aortic disease specialists at MUSC Health are experts in minimally invasive procedures for treating aortic aneurysms. These catheter-based procedures require smaller incisions. For you, this approach means a faster recovery, reduced risk of infection and less pain.
Our minimally invasive aortic disease treatment options include:
- Endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR)
- Fenestrated endovascular aneurysm repair (FEVAR)
- Thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR)
EVAR treats abdominal aortic aneurysms that form below the arteries of the kidney.
- During this procedure, your doctor makes small incisions in your groin and threads thin tubes called catheters into the femoral artery in your legs.
- Your doctor uses the catheter to place a special device called a stent-graft at the site of the aneurysm.
- The stent-graft decreases pressure on the aneurysm wall and prevents it from growing or bursting.
If your abdominal aortic aneurysm involves the major aortic vessels that supply blood to your kidneys, bowel. or liver, you need a stent-graft that has windows, or fenestrations, to allow blood flow to the organs.
- During this procedure, your doctor makes small incisions in your groin and threads thin tubes called catheters into the femoral arteries of both legs.
- Your doctor uses the catheters to place a special device called a fenestrated stent-graft at the aneurysm site.
- The fenestrated windows of the stent-graft allow blood to continue to flow to vital organs while blocking blood flow to the aneurysm. Without blood flow, the aneurysm can’t grow or burst.
Diagram of a fenestrated repair
A thoracic aortic aneurysm occurs in a weakened aortic wall in the chest.
- During this procedure, your doctor makes small incisions in your groin and threads thin tubes called catheters into the femoral artery of both legs.
- Your doctor uses the catheters to place a special device called an endovascular stent-graft at the aneurysm site.
- The stent-graft reinforces the aortic wall from the inside and diverts blood flow away from the aneurysm.
- TEVAR also can treat thoracic aortic dissection, a condition that splits the wall of the aorta in two. The stent-graft covers the hole in the wall of the aorta and diverts blood flow, which allows the aorta to heal.