Familial thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection, also known as TAAD, is a genetic disorder that involves problems with the aorta. The aorta is the main blood vessel that helps carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body. In this condition, the aorta can become weak and may stretch. The aorta tears, and some of the blood leaks out to the other layers of the aorta, causing pain. This is what is called dissection. Dissection may cause less blood flow to other parts of the body. The symptoms of TAAD usually include sharp chest pain that starts in the chest bone and moves to the shoulders, neck, arm, jaw, stomach, or hips. The stabbing pain can also move to other places in the body as the condition gets worse. Other symptoms may include anxiety, fainting, being dizzy, being sweaty, being pale, and feeling nauseous.
Even though TAAD is genetic, the timing of the symptoms is not always the same. Symptoms may appear in childhood, and sometimes they appear later. The condition is very dangerous and should be treated right away. Usually, doctors can diagnose TAAD by listening to your heart and lungs, taking chest x-rays, and taking pictures of the heart. If caught early enough, the condition may be corrected by surgery.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with familial thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection, talk with your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also good resources of support and information.
Description Last Updated: Feb 15, 2018