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How is an aortic tear repaired?

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Quick Answer

Aortic tears are repaired by replacing the damaged area of the aorta with an artificial graft during surgery, reports MedicineNet.com. Damage extending to the aortic valve often requires the valve to be surgically repaired or replaced.

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Aortic dissection is the medical term for a tear in the inner lining of the aorta, which allows blood to separate the layers of muscle that form the aortic wall, explains MedicineNet.com. The aortic wall is composed of three layers of muscle that enable it to tolerate the pressure of blood being pumped from the heart. When a tear occurs in the inner layer, blood enters this tear and forces the inner layer to separate from the middle layer, forming a channel within the aortic wall called a lumen. This channel can be small or extend the entire length of the aorta.

If the aortic dissection occurs in the ascending aorta or aortic arch, the portions of the aorta extending upward from the heart, surgery is necessary to repair the damage, states MedicineNet.com. During this procedure, a surgeon removes the damaged sections of the aorta and blocks the areas admitting blood into the aortic wall, reports Mayo Clinic. The aorta is then reconstructed with a graft consisting of a synthetic tube.

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