Quick Facts:

  • The aorta is the main blood vessel carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
  • An aortic aneurysm is a widening, bulge, or ballooning of a portion of the aorta.
  • An aortic dissection is a tear between the layers of the aorta, which can cause an aneurysm or rupture.
  • Approximately 10,000 people experience aortic dissections annually.
  • Fast, accurate diagnosis of dissection is imperative: 50% of patients with undiagnosed aortic dissection die within 48 hours, a death rate of approximately 1% per hour.

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Bicuspid aortic valve

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From the Bicuspid Aortic Foundation

A bicuspid aortic valve is an aortic valve with only two leaflets instead of three. Clinical and scientific studies reveal that bicuspid aortic disease is not a simple valve condition. It increasingly appears to be a genetically based connective tissue disorder.

As a genetic condition, it may affect multiple family members. Some affected family members have bicuspid aortic valves, and some have normal-appearing tri-leaflet aortic valves.

Regardless of the number of aortic valve leaflets, all family members should be checked periodically to avoid serious, potentially life-threatening complications of the aorta and vessels of the head and neck.

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