Can an Aortic Dissection Heal On Its Own?
Aneurysm, once developed cannot disappear or decrease in size on its own. It is an irreversible process. It is diagnosed only when other regular tests like a chest X-ray, MRI etc is done or else there will not be any visible symptoms. There are medicines and drugs which can slow down the process of developing an aneurysm but does not cure it completely or reverse the process. Eventually an aortic aneurysm will burst if left untreated. Once a thoracic or abdominal aneurysm develops it continues to grow in size and the risk of rupturing is increased. It is advisable to get the surgery done as soon as possible if it is diagnosed at the right time. An artificial graft is used to treat the dissected aorta.
Aneurysms or the swelling of aorta are basically of two types: Thoracic aortic aneurysm and Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm out of which the abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is more common. Aortic splits can also be categorized into: Type A or Type B.
Type A: When the dissection occurs at the ascending aorta it is termed as Type A. They are more harmful.
Type B: When the dissection occurs at the descending aorta it is termed as Type B. They are less harmful than type A and require less attention and treatment.
The thoracic aortic aneurysm is less common than the abdominal aortic aneurysm but both the types can be fatal if an aortic dissection occurs i.e. bursting of the swelled up area of the aorta. If there is no rupture, the condition is manageable and in most of the patients also, there is not any sign or symptom. Because there is no sign or symptom of this abnormality it is not diagnosed easily until it is ruptured. Sometimes the mild symptoms are also mistaken with other cardio vascular disorders like a heart attack. The chances of people surviving of an aortic dissection is very less, it is less than 50% that too after the surgical treatment. Those who survive need to take extra care of their lifestyle and avoid aggressive control of their B.P. Around 20% of the patients who have ruptured aorta die even before getting proper medical treatment.
Pathology of Aortic Aneurysm
Medically, aortic aneurysm is a very severe condition. In this condition, the largest artery of the body, which carries blood from the heart to different parts of the body gets torn or splits. The aorta resembles a hose pipe and its diameter is also somewhat similar to it. It comes out of the heart from the upper portion of the heart and divides into various smaller arteries and arterioles. The splitting of an aorta can be complete or partial. If it’s partial, there will be no hole in the aorta and there is no internal bleeding but if it is along the full thickness of the aorta there will be whole in the aorta which will lead to internal bleeding. Many patients die immediately as soon as the aorta is torn, resulting in internal bleeding.
When the dissection of aorta appears the patient feels sharp pain appearing at the chest and radiating outwards. The blood flow to some parts of the body is reduced or stopped so the pulse in these areas becomes weak. An ultrasound of the chest, CT scan and MRI are the popular procedures which are used to diagnose the aneurysm.