What is Aortic Ectasia? - Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

The valves in the atrium (upper chamber) and ventricle (lower chamber) of a healthy heart open and close in response to the pressure gradient between the left and right sides of the heart. Additionally, the valves open and close in order to stop the flow of blood in the opposite direction. Mitral valves are responsible for allowing oxygenated blood to flow into the healthy heart from the left atrium, while aortic valves are responsible for allowing blood to flow out of the heart into the aorta.

When a heart has aortic ectasia, the aorta degenerates, changes in appearance, or stops working. This can lead to a number of aortic diseases, such as aortic impairment or regurgitation. As a result, the left ventricle of the heart becomes overfilled because blood is returning to it in a reverse way from the aorta. This causes the cardiac muscle to thicken (hypertrophy) and can result in irreversible damage. 

Aortic Ectasia vs. Annuloaortic Ectasia

Both annuloaortic ectasia and aortic ectasia refer to the dilation or enlargement of the aorta, the major blood vessel that delivers blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Annuloaortic ectasia is a kind of aortic ectasia that especially affects the annulus, or ring-shaped component, of the aortic valve. This sort of ectasia can lead to aortic valve dysfunction issues, such as regurgitation (leakage of blood back into the heart).

What is Aortic Ectasia? - Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Aortic ectasia can refer to any sort of aortic dilation or enlargement, independent of the location within the aorta. The ascending aorta, the arch of the aorta, and the descending aorta are all possible locations for aortic ectasia.

Aortic Ectasia Definition 

According to experts, "aortic ectasia" refers to a moderate dilatation of the aorta that is not categorized as an aneurysm and is typically less than 3 centimeters in diameter.

Aortic Ectasia Symptoms

Aortic ectasia, a disorder in which the aorta enlarges or dilates, may not initially manifest any symptoms. However, if the situation worsens, these signs and symptoms might appear:

  • Stroke
  • Abdominal distress
  • Extremity numbness and hypothermia
  • Pain that is severe and ripping, either in the back or the chest
  • Rapid pulse
  • Shortness of breath

Aortic Ectasia Cuases

Atherosclerosis, often known as hardening of the arteries, is the most common cause of ectasia; however, ectasia can also be caused by other factors such as

  • Hypertension 
  • Connective tissue disease
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Some medical conditions, like the bicuspid aortic valve (a birth defect of the heart) and infectious endocarditis, can cause the problem

Aortic Ectasia Treatment

There are various treatment options available, such as:

  • Prescription drugs: To control high blood pressure and stop further aortic deterioration, your doctor may recommend drugs.
  • Changes in lifestyle: Making healthy lifestyle choices, including eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising routinely, and not smoking, can aid in the management of aortic ectasia and lower the risk of problems.
  • Surgery: To replace or repair the damaged area of the aorta, surgery may occasionally be required. Open surgery or minimally invasive techniques, such as endovascular repair, may be necessary.

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