Find out about the diseases and illnesses we specialise in

Aortic pathologies


Aortic pathologies include all of the diseases that affect the aortic artery. The aortic artery is the largest and most important artery in the body, emerging from the heart and carrying blood to the rest of the body. This artery can be divided into four parts: aortic root, ascending aorta, aortic arch, and descending aorta. Each part can have its particular pathologies and, equally, different treatments.



The symptoms of aortic pathologies are highly variable and depend on which part of the aorta is affected.

If something is wrong with the aortic root, this can trigger a failure of the aortic valve, leading to symptoms of left-sided heart failure and shortness of breath, chest pain, and/or palpitations.

Lesions of the ascending aorta, aortic arch, and descending aorta are usually chronic and most of the time do not cause symptoms. Only in cases of an acute injury (aortic dissection, haematoma, or rupture) will the patient experience sudden thoracic or abdominal pain.


Who is affected by the disease?

Aortic pathologies can affect people ranging from newborns to the elderly, with no differences in prevalence by gender. There are risk factors that increase the incidence of this group of disorders: high blood pressure, connective tissue disorders (Marfan syndrome, Loeyz-Dietz syndrome, etc.), and a malformation of the aortic valve, among others.



A correct individual and family medical history is needed to diagnose these pathologies. It is also essential to carry out imaging tests such as an echocardiogram, CT angiography of the aorta, and/or an MRI.


Typical treatment

It is essential to know, understand, and control the risk factors that increase the incidence of these pathologies. The definitive treatment consists of replacing the affected part of the aorta or, in some specific cases, endovascular treatment with the placement of a stent.


Typical tests

These patients typically need a transthoracic or transoesophageal echocardiogram, a CT angiography, and they often need an MRI.



It is possible to prevent these pathologies by controlling blood pressure and correctly monitoring the affected aorta with imaging tests to detect changes in size or possible complications over time.


Related departments that treat this condition

The Vall d’Hebron Hospital has a multidisciplinary Aorta Unit made up by the Cardiac Surgery, Cardiology, Vascular Surgery, and Radiology Departments. This Unit holds regular meetings to present its newest cases and to follow up on known cases, making therapeutic decisions as a team.


Notable professionals at Vall d’Hebron who treat this condition

All of the professionals in the aforementioned specialities participate in the treatment of this disease.

Hospital o serveis complementaris relacionats

General Hospital

Where to find it
Related professionals
Dr. Rafael
Rodríguez Lecoq
Head of Department
Cardiac Surgery
Dra. Paula
Resta Bond
Cardiac Surgery