Surgical Treatment of Aortic Dissection

Dissections in the ascending aorta (portion of the aorta near where it exits the heart) can be life-threatening and generally require surgery. The procedure involves replacing the damaged portion of the aorta with a tube graft (polyester tube). Sometime the aortic valve may also require repair or replacement, or, in some cases valve-sparing aortic root replacement may be used to avoid replacing the valve.

Dissections in the descending aorta (further from the heart, where the aorta descends toward the abdomen) often can be managed with medical therapy. However, if the dissection continues to grow, an endovascular procedure may be recommended in which a polyester-covered stent is used to reinforce the weakened portion of the aorta. The graft is placed using a catheter (thin, flexible tube) inserted in the groin area and threaded to the affected section of the aorta.

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