A dilated aorta is life-threatening; the condition was the primary cause of 10,597 deaths in the United States in 2009, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A dilated aorta is also known as an aortic aneurysm.
The aorta is a large blood vessel that carries blood from the heart. A dilatation or bulge in the aorta can burst or rupture, causing bleeding inside the body, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The force of pumping blood through the dilated aorta can cause a split in the layers of the wall of the aorta, which is also known as an aortic dissection. An aortic dissection results in a leakage of blood. Ruptures and aortic dissections are the most common causes of death from aortic aneurysms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.