Aortic Aneurysm and Aortic Disease

Aortic Aneurysm and Aortic Disease

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Duke cardiologists and surgeons evaluate and treat the serious conditions that can affect your aorta, the large artery that distributes blood from your heart to the rest of your body. If you need surgery, our surgeons use new, less-invasive approaches to rebuild and repair the artery. We minimize your risk of further damage due to aortic disease.

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Advanced Treatment for Aortic Disease

We work to prevent, detect, and correct the silent, life-threatening conditions that can affect your aorta, including:

  • Aneurysm -- when the aorta weakens, enlarges, or ruptures
  • Aortic dissection -- when the aorta separates

We also provide extensive monitoring, treatment, and novel surgical approaches to people born with genetic conditions like Loeys-Dietz, Ehlers-Danlos, and Marfan syndromes that raise your risk for an aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection.

Our Locations
Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.


Watchful Waiting

If your aneurysm is small and does not need immediate treatment, we will monitor changes every six to 12 months using imaging scans. This lets us continually evaluate the risks and benefits of medical or surgical intervention.


Cholesterol-lowering medications (statins) and blood-pressure medications may help slow aneurysm growth and prevent complications.

Endovascular Stent Graft

If you need aortic repair and your anatomy is suitable, we use a minimally invasive approach in which a flexible catheter is inserted into your artery or aorta through a small incision in your groin. A fabric tube supported by metal mesh, called a stent graft, is strategically placed to reinforce weak spots in your aorta and prevent a rupture or aneurysm. People who have this procedure typically experience less blood loss and pain, avoid the risks associated with more invasive surgery, leave the hospital sooner, and recover faster.


We perform a large number of complex surgeries to repair the aorta. We use advanced monitoring of the central nervous system to protect your spinal cord during surgery.

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Tests and Screening

We focus on screening to detect problems early, when intervention has the best chance of preventing more serious issues.

Genetic Disease Screening

We offer screening and counseling for genetic diseases that affect the blood vessels, such as Marfan, Ehlers-Danlos, and Loeys-Dietz syndromes. We determine the best management and treatment approach for you and your family.

CT, MRI, Ultrasound

We use the latest advances -- including CT scan, MRI, and ultrasound -- to create high-resolution images that help identify if you are at risk for aortic disease and to watch for changes that may occur following an aortic repair.


An ultrasound probe is moved over the surface of your chest to capture moving images of your heart. This allows us to determine your heart’s chamber dimensions, shape, valve structures, and overall function.

Cardiac Catheterization

Flexible catheters are guided through a blood vessel to your heart. Contrast dye is injected and X-rays are taken to capture images of your heart, coronary arteries, and other blood vessels.

CT Coronary Angiography

A contrast agent is injected into your arm and a CT scan produces highly detailed 3-D images of your coronary arteries to help identify anatomy and blockages.

Why Choose Duke

Excellent Patient Outcomes
Our advanced technologies and team approach minimize surgical complication rates for complex aortic procedures and reduce the risks of infection and re-hospitalization.

Novel Surgical Techniques for Rare Genetic Conditions
We have developed novel surgical approaches to manage the risk of aortic dissection in people with Marfan and Loeys-Dietz syndromes.

Hybrid Surgery to Repair the Aorta
When appropriate, we combine open-heart surgery with minimally invasive endovascular techniques to repair the aorta. This alternative is valuable for older or high-risk people who aren't eligible for a more invasive surgery. 

Long-Term Follow-Up
Our medical team provides ongoing management of your aortic disease to ensure you live the best life possible.

Best Heart Hospital in NC
When it comes to your heart care, you want the very best. Duke University Hospital's nationally ranked cardiology and heart surgery program is ranked the best in North Carolina by U.S. News & World Report for 2019–2020.
Reviewed: 08/30/2018