beth israel deaconess medical center a harvard medical school teaching hospital

  • Contact BIDMC
  • Maps & Directions
  • Other Locations
  • Careers at BIDMC
  • Smaller Larger

Find a Doctor

Request an Appointment

Smaller Larger

Aortic Disease

About the Aorta


Heart and Main VesselsBodies Largest Artery

The aorta is your body's largest artery and is responsible for carrying oxygen-rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body.

Carries Blood from Heart to Rest of Body

Blood enters the aorta with each contraction of the left ventricle, your heart's major pumping chamber, and travels throughout the body through smaller arteries branching from it.

Stretches and Relaxes with Pressure

The aorta is elastic -- connective fibers inside the aortic wall allow it to stretch with pressure, and return to its relaxed state when the pressure subsides.

What is Aortic Disease?


Degeneration of Aortic Wall Cells

Aortic disease is characterized by degeneration of the cells composing the aortic wall.

Two Life Threatening Conditions

There are two forms of aortic disease that can be life threatening.

Aortic Dissection

Aortic Dissection is a condition in which a tear develops in the inner layer of the aorta.

Aortic Aneurysm

Aortic Aneurysm occurs when a weakened or defective area of the aortic expands or bulges significantly.

Contact Information

Cardiac Surgery
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Lowry Medical Office Building, 2A
110 Francis Street
Boston, MA 02215
Phone: 617-632-8383

RELATED LINKS