Living With Marfans

AORTIC ANEURYSMS - FACTS

An aortic aneurysm is characterized as a balloon-like bulge that forms within the body's largest blood vessel, the Aorta.
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TexasHeartInstitute With proper detection of an aortic aneurysm, as seen by a CT Scan, MRI or Echo, treatment can be initiated to repair the aneurysm and eliminate the chances of an aortic dissection. WebMD.com describes an aortic dissection as "an abnormal separation of tissues within the walls of the aorta" caused by high blood pressure, family history of the condition, disease of connective tissue (such as Marfan syndrome), or severe trauma to the chest.

In September 2003, the words 'Aortic Dissection'. were brought to the nation's attention with the tragic passing of actor John Ritter. Just as tragic, was the statements that the cause of his death was, ' an unrecognized and undetected flaw in his heart', and that it was ' unpreventable.' The overlying tragedy here is that John's death may have been avoided if he had been given one of the tests named above.

Considering all of the medical knowledge and diagnostic scanning methods that now exist, frontline physicians must utilize these tools to prevent future tragedies from happening. Aortic disease is not as rare as many think. It kills over 25,000 people a year.

Believe it or not, as of January 1, 2004, there is no medical specialty devoted to treating or educating others about the aorta and aortic disease. How many more people have to die before the medical community realizes we need specialists in aortic study. J.R.

(Suggested article to read: Medical Ignorance Contributes to Toll From Aortic Illness
By Kevin Helliker and Thomas M. Burton
Staff Reporters of the Wall Street Journal