What is an enlarged aorta?


Quick Answer

An enlarged aorta is enlargement or bulging in the wall of the aorta, which is the largest blood vessel of the body that extends from the heart. This medical condition is also referred to as an aortic aneurysm, according to eMedicineHealth.

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Full Answer

An aortic aneurysm occurs when the pressure of blood flowing through the blood vessel creates a bulge or enlargement in the vessel, causing it to become weak and expand, as explained by eMedicineHealth. Atherosclerosis, hypertension and advancing age usually cause the condition, notes WebMD.

Symptoms include a tearing feeling in the chest or abdomen, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing and loss of consciousness. Treatment of the condition varies depending on the patient’s medical condition and the size of the aneurysm. While smaller aneurysms only require monitoring, larger ones may require surgery to remove them, explains WebMD.

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