Repair of thoracic aneurysms

Thoracic aortic aneurysms are abnormal bulges that develop in the weakened wall of the aorta, situated in the chest. The aorta is the largest blood vessel in your body and is responsible for passing oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body. When the aorta's wall is weak, blood begins to push against the vessel wall, which may result in a bulge forming like a balloon. As time goes by, the blood vessel inflates and the risk of bursting or rupturing, which may cause life-threatening bleeding, increases.

What are the related symptoms of thoracic aortic aneurysms?

Thoracic aortic aneurysms normally develop slowly and cause no symptoms, which makes it difficult to detect. Some aneurysms may never rupture; they start small and remain the same. As thoracic aortic aneurysms grow, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Back pain
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hoarseness
  • Trouble swallowing due to pressure on the vocal cords
  • Tenderness or pain in the chest

Thoracic aortic aneurysms may develop anywhere on the thoracic aorta such as near the heart, in the aortic arch and in the lower part of the thoracic aorta. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience a sharp and sudden pain in the upper back, difficulty in breathing or pain in your chest, jaw, neck or arms, as these may be a sign of a ruptured aneurysm or torn artery wall.

How are thoracic aortic aneurysms repaired?

Dr Dongo will recommend a minimally invasive surgery called endovascular aneurysm repair. During the procedure, Dr Dongo will make small incisions on your groin. He will then use imaging instruments to help him throughout the surgery. The surgeon will attach a synthetic graft to the end of a thin tube, and then the tube will be inserted through an artery in your leg and threaded up into the aorta. A woven tube that is covered with metal mesh support, called a graft, is then placed at the site of the aneurysm and small hooks or pins are utilized to keep the graft in place. The graft will then reinforce the weakened section of the aorta and prevent the aneurysm from rupturing. After the surgery, Dr Dongo will stitch close the incisions.


A cardiothoracic surgeon is a specialist medical doctor who performs operations on the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs in the chest. Dr Lehlohonolo Dongo's Qualifications.


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