Thoracic Aorta

The thoracic aorta is the main pathway for oxygenated blood flowing away from the heart.  It is a large artery with the largest pressures and blood flow in the body.  Its first main branches are the blood flow to the brain and upper extremities.  Beyond that, it carries blood the chest into the abdominal aorta.

Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

A thoracic aortic aneurysm is an abnormal bulge in the aorta in the chest. This is more common in people with high blood pressure and people who smoke. If the bulge gets large enough it can rupture causing extreme pain and sometimes death.

Thoracic Aortic Dissection

An aortic dissection is a tear in the wall of the aorta.  It can be very painful and is extremely dangerous.  The tear can block blood flow from the aorta to the brain or other vital organs. This is more common in people with high blood pressure and people who smoke.