Aortic Care

Your Team: Cardiology, Thoracic and Vascular Specialists

Aortic Valve

St.Vincent Heart Center aortic specialists use novel devices to treat aortic stenosis (a narrowing of the body’s largest artery) by using minimally invasive technology. The result is improved outcomes and a quicker recovery.

When the largest artery in the body, aortic artery is damaged, tears or narrows, an abdominal aortic aneurysm among other complications may occur. St.Vincent Heart Center cardiologists and heart surgeons collaborate across sub-specialty areas — and across locations — to coordinate your care.

The expertise of cardiologists and specialists in thoracic and vascular conditions team up to manage and repair complex aortic artery diseases. Nationally, we are a leader in innovative care and known for pioneering transformative procedures. (For more information see the 2014 Promise and Performance Report entitled “No Boundaries”).

We know that having access to care close to home is important. That is why, follow-up after an aortic procedure may be coordinated at one of our other St.Vincent Hospitals and Heart Care Clinics throughout Central Indiana. Your care plan follows you home and involves your primary care physician and the attending cardiologist.

Diagnosing and Managing Aortic Disease

The aorta artery is very important because it carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the body. The most common problem is aortic aneurysm. Damage may occur genetically; from blunt force (like a car accident); or as the body ages. Symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm are often elusive because most adults do not experience any obvious symptoms. In fact, many diagnoses are often discovered during ultrasound testing or CAT scans for unrelated conditions.

  • Thoracic or abdominal aortic aneurysm – enlargement of the wall of the aortic artery (chest or abdomen)
  • Aortic dissection – damage or tear to the inner wall of the aortic artery
  • The aortic artery also leads to the heart where an aortic valve may narrow. To learn more about Heart Valve, click here.

Treating Aortic Artery Conditions

Our St.Vincent aortic specialists are highly trained in the diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of all aortic conditions. Many are leading medical research studies which also benefit the patient from a knowledge base and access to the latest medications and surgical techniques.

Managing aortic conditions depends on the severity:

  • Conservative medication management often includes surveillance imaging and stress testing
  • Certain medications may be indicated to stop the progression of the disease.
  • Aortic surgery is a team approach, many procedures are now minimally invasive
    • Endovascular surgery, including stent grafting and thoracic aortic procedures
    • Abdominal aortic aneurysm procedures (un-ruptured aortas)
    • Thoracic aortic endovascular procedures
    • Stent-grafting
    • Valve-preserving operations
    • Open surgery bypass graft aortic replacement

St.Vincent Medical Group vascular and aortic specialists have pioneered advanced aortic artery care with many firsts in 20 years and the innovation continues.

  • 1995 - Abdominal aortic aneurysm endograft surgery
  • 2005 - Thoracic endovascular aneurysm surgery
  • 2014 - AHA honors St.Vincent Heart Center with the Mission:Lifetime Gold Quality Achievement Award for Heart Attack Care recognizing their high standards of performance in rapid evidence-based treatment of STEMI patients to open a blocked artery.
  • 2015 - Hybrid operating rooms combine fully equipped cath lab with a surgical operating room to improve endograft repairs in high risk patients.
  • 2015 - Experience counts when it comes to heart and valve procedures, St.Vincent Heart Center was the first in Indiana to offer the FDA-approved Edwards SAPIEN® valve for aortic stenosis repair.

Next Steps

  • Know your risk factors!
  • High blood pressure is a risk factor for aortic aneurysms.
  • Aortic valve stenosis symptoms include:
    • Chest pain (angina) or tightness.
    • Feeling faint or fainting with exertion.
    • Shortness of breath, especially with exertion.
    • Fatigue, especially during times of increased activity