What is thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA)?

Updated: Apr 02, 2021
  • Author: Elaine Tseng, MD; Chief Editor: Mary C Mancini, MD, PhD, MMM  more...
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By definition, an aneurysm is a localized or diffuse dilation of an artery with a diameter at least 50% greater than the normal size of the artery. Aneurysmal degeneration can occur anywhere in the human aorta; most aortic aneurysms (AAs) occur in the abdominal aorta and thus are termed abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). Although most AAAs are asymptomatic at the time of diagnosis, the most common complication remains life-threatening rupture with hemorrhage.

Aneurysmal degeneration that occurs in the thoracic aorta is termed a thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA). Aneurysms that coexist in both segments of the aorta (thoracic and abdominal) are termed thoracoabdominal aneurysms (TAAAs). TAAs and TAAAs are also at risk for rupture. One population-based study suggests an increasing prevalence of TAAs.

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