Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm Program

The Rutgers Health Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm program has expertise in treating diseases of the thoracic aorta, including aneurysms, acute and chronic aortic dissections, and traumatic aortic transections.

Thoracic aortic aneurysms occur when there is a weak area in the wall of the thoracic aorta (the body’s largest artery, which carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the rest of the body). This weak area may eventually widen or balloon abnormally. Discovery of most thoracic aortic aneurysms occurs during imaging tests such as X-ray, echocardiogram, CT scan, or MRI, which may have been prescribed for other reasons. Follow up with a chest CT scan can show the size of the aorta and the exact location of the aneurysm.

Aneurysms tend to develop slowly over many years. There may be no symptoms until it begins to leak or expand. While growing, an aneurysm may present with such symptoms as:

  • Cough
  • Nausea
  • Problems swallowing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tenderness or pain in chest or upper back
  • Vomiting

If an aneurysm grows quickly, symptoms may start suddenly if it tears the aortic wall or blood leaks along the wall. If the aneurysm presses on nearby structures, symptoms may include:

  • High-pitched breathing
  • Hoarseness
  • Neck swelling
  • Swallowing problems

Physicians who serve our program are on the faculty of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, a part of Rutgers University, one of the top research institutions in America. Our doctors are active in research and teach about all aspects of thoracic aortic aneurysm and cardiothoracic surgery. Each brings leading-edge knowledge from the classroom to the exam room.

If you or a loved one needs treatment for an aortic aneurysm, the Rutgers Health Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm program can provide comprehensive, compassionate care.