The symptoms of an enlarged aorta include back pain, chest pain, swallowing difficulty, hoarseness, swelling, coughing, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness and rapid pulse. An enlarged aorta leads to the formation of a bulge in the aorta referred to as an aortic aneurysm. This condition is normally caused by another condition called Marfan syndrome, which causes the walls of the aorta to be weak.
Mild enlargement of the aorta may not have any symptoms at all, as stated by UW Health. A doctor may detect the condition during other exams or tests. However, any level of enlargement may lead to leakage of blood to the heart due to weaker aortic valves, which can cause rapid heart pulse and shortness of breath. Severe enlargement of the aorta can increase the weakness of the aortic wall, possibly causing the bulge to dissect.
Patients suffering from Marfan syndrome are usually advised to always watch out for any signs of aorta enlargement. The treatment depends on its severity and the rate of growth. Surgery may be required to fix the bulge if it is large. Using computer tomography scans and ultrasounds may help a doctor to know the size of the aortic aneurysm. If the bulge tears, it can lead to life threatening conditions, as stated by WebMD.