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The body's largest artery, the aorta, is the path through which oxygenated blood leaves the heart for the rest of the body. When this important pathway is damaged, the artery can split or bulge, leading to life-threatening consequences. Aortic disease includes:
Some of the conditions that lead to aortic disease — high blood pressure and cholesterol and fat build-up in the arteries — can be managed with medications and lifestyle change. Yet, the damage to the aorta still may need surgical repair.
At the University of Maryland Center for Aortic Disease, our surgical team works closely with our medical team to provide the advanced surgery you need with intensive follow-up care to keep your blood pressure under control.
The UM Center for Aortic Disease team is still seeing patients with urgent or emergent conditions. For all non-urgent medical concerns, virtual appointments are now available for aortic disease services. We strongly encourage patients to schedule video and/or phone consults for appointments. Please contact us at 410-328-4771 to find out if telehealth is available for your next visit.
Medical Management of Aortic Disease
Medications can help decrease the pressure on the vascular system and blood vessel walls, reducing the chance that an aneurysm will rupture.
Our dedicated blood pressure specialist has extensive experience treating patients who have not respond to standard medications. These therapies may include medications, procedures or clinical trials not available elsewhere.
Surgical Treatment of Aortic Disease
We are committed to using a minimally invasive approach whenever possible. We perform the full range of endovascular procedures. Surgical treatments include:
- Endovascular grafting - We repair the aneurysm by making a small incision in your groin and using a catheter to make the repair. Learn more about endovascular surgery.
- Open surgery - Depending on your condition, we may decide that conventional surgery is the approach that will offer you the optimal results.
- Hybrid procedures - In our hybrid operating room, we perform both open and endovascular procedures in the same setting. This allows us to give you the most effective and least invasive procedure possible.
- Neuromonitoring - Our team is specially trained to use neuromonitoring during aortic procedures. We monitor your brain and spinal cord function during the surgery to lessen complications and contribute to the success of your surgery.
Aortic Disease Screening
Because most aortic conditions are treatable when detected early, we emphasize preventive care, early detection and ongoing medical management.
Screening and preventive measures include:
- Blood pressure screenings - Hypertension is one of the leading causes of aortic conditions. Get regular blood pressure screenings and use a digital blood pressure cuff at home.
- Lifestyle changes - If diagnosed with high blood pressure and aortic disease, we may recommend lifestyle changes, such as a low-sodium diet, lower levels of physical exertion and stress reduction. Learn more about high blood pressure.
- Pay attention to symptoms - Tell your doctor if you have any symptoms like chest pain, weakness, numbness or fainting.
- Family history - Disclose family medical history to identify any possible genetic conditions.
To make an appointment with one of our specialists, call 410-328-4771.
We provide rapid, effective treatment for emergency cases via our emergency transport system, University of Maryland ExpressCare.
We are in constant contact with UM ExpressCare, so we are ready to begin treatment the minute the patient arrives, including gathering the necessary specialists. We also have a Critical Care Resuscitation Unit so patients get intensive care unit-level care right away.
To reach ExpressCare, call 410-328-1234.