Heart and Vascular Health

Cardiologists specializing in aortic disease care

Ascension Saint Thomas Heart has a multidisciplinary team of cardiac specialists to treat aortic conditions .

Aortic Center

To make an appointment or speak with an Aortic Center specialist, please call 615-22-AORTA (26782)

Aortic heart conditions are complex and often require immediate medical attention. The Ascension Saint Thomas Heart Aortic Center has a team of specialists experienced in diagnosing and treating complex heart conditions.  We work together to deliver care that is right for you. We coordinate your appointments, testing and treatments at the Aortic Center and provide a personalized care plan.

Ascension Saint Thomas Heart has a long tradition as a leading heart program. The Ascension Saint Thomas Heart Aortic Center, the first of its kind in Middle Tennessee, continues the tradition of delivering innovative, high quality heart care. In the event of an aortic heart emergency, our Aortic Center is designed to accept transfers from community hospitals and provide highly coordinated care with easy-to-access services.

Know the signs of aortic disease

An aortic dissection is a true emergency, and survival depends on immediate medical action. If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, go to the nearest ER or call 911.

Signs of aortic distress

  • Sudden chest, back, neck or abdominal pain
  • Unconsciousness
  • Paralysis or loss of function of a limb

Treatments

  • Blood pressure control
  • Medications to slow heart rate (beta-blocker)
  • Cholesterol lowering medication
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Quit smoking
  • Surgical intervention
  • Imaging to provide ongoing evaluation of aneurism

Thoracic aortic aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of the aortic artery and is a life-threatening condition. Thoracic aortic aneurysms are the 13th leading cause of death in the United States. At Ascension Saint Thomas Heart, we provide high-quality care with a focus on preventing complications associated with the aneurysm.

Aneurysm surgery

An aneurysm causes a widening of the artery. An aortic aneurysm can develop anywhere along the aorta, including the lower section that passes through the stomach. Our experienced cardiothoracic surgeons treat many types of aneurysms, including:

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) in the torso
  • Thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) in the chest wall and includes the aortic root, ascending aorta, aortic arch or descending aorta
  • Thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms (TAAA) in the section between the abdomen and chest

Surgery for aortic dissection

Saint Thomas Heart specializes in both the medical management and surgical treatment of aortic dissections. Aortic dissection is a condition that forces the layers of the wall of the aorta to separate. As blood enters this space, the aortic wall enlarges, causing a tear. Symptoms of aortic dissection include severe, sharp, ripping pain in the chest and back or paralysis of a limb. Ascending aorta dissections, near the heart, are almost always asurgical emergency involving open-heart surgery. 

Thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR)

Our aortic surgeons are trained in the minimally invasive TEVAR procedure to repair thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs).

Aortic valve repair or replacement

Our care team are also structural heart specialists and are highly trained in the repair and replacement of aortic heart valves. At Ascension Saint Thomas Heart, the surgical team is experienced at performing the aortic valve procedure at the same time as the aortic aneruysm surgery.  This type of complex surgery is referred to as aortic valve-sparing root replacement (David procedure or Yacoub procedure).

Our specialty care team works together to identify the appropriate surgical approach for your condition and quality of life: 

  • Open-heart surgery
  • Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TEVAR)
  • Composite graft surgery

Community Hospital Support

The Ascension Saint Thomas Heart Aortic Center helps shorten the window of time between diagnosis and treatment. We provide community hospitals who may not have the advanced equipment and resources required to care for an adult with an aortic dissection, with one phone number to call and one place to transfer patients. Please call 1(855)284-2255.

To make an appointment or speak with an Aortic Center specialist, please call 615-22-AORTA (26782)

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