Aortitis refers to inflammation of the aorta. The aorta is the largest artery you have in your body and it has branches that provide blood flow to all of the body's organs and tissues. As the aorta is a blood vessel, aortitis is one potential manifestation of vasculitis, or blood vessel inflammation. Aortitis can occur in isolation or together with inflammation of other blood vessels (systemic vasculitis). Aortitis can widen your aorta, creating an aortic aneurysm, or possibly make your aortic valve narrow (aortic stenosis).
Aortitis can have various causes, including:
- Systemic vasculitis and other inflammatory disorders including: Giant cell arteritis, Takayasu arteritis, Behcet disease, Kawasaki disease, Polyarteritis nodosa, Ankylosing spondylitis, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematous, relapsing polychondritis, sarcoidosis, IgG4-related disease, inflammatory bowel diseases
- Infections including: salmonella, syphilis, staphylococcus, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, etc.
It is important to identify and treat aortitis promptly to prevent potential complications such as aortic rupture or aortic stenosis.
The symptoms of aortitis can vary depending on the severity and location of the inflammation, but some common signs and symptoms include:
- Chest or back pain: This can be a sharp or dull pain that may be constant or come and go.
- Abdominal pain: Pain in the abdomen can occur if the inflammation is affecting the abdominal aorta.
- Fever: A high fever may be present if the aortitis is caused by an infection.
- Weakness or fatigue: These symptoms may occur due to decreased blood flow caused by the inflammation.
- Shortness of breath: This may occur if the aortitis is affecting the thoracic aorta, which supplies blood to the chest and arms.
The diagnosis of aortitis typically involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and imaging tests.
Some common diagnostic tests for aortitis include:
- Blood tests: To identify infections, autoimmune diseases, and other underlying conditions that may cause aortitis.
- Medical imaging: CT scans, MRI, or angiography can provide detailed images of the aorta and help confirm the diagnosis of aortitis.
- A Biopsy, or removal of a small sample of tissue from the aorta, may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis and determine the underlying cause of aortitis.
Your doctor may also perform other tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or echocardiogram, to assess the health of your heart and blood vessels. The diagnosis and treatment plan for aortitis will depend on the underlying cause.
The treatment for aortitis depends on the underlying cause, the severity of the inflammation, and other individual factors.
Some common treatment options for aortitis include:
- Medications: Anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, or immunosuppressant drugs may be used to treat aortitis caused by infections, autoimmune diseases, or other underlying conditions.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace a section of the aorta that has been affected by aortitis.
- Endovascular procedures, such as stenting or embolization, may be used to treat aortitis in some cases.
In addition to these specific treatments, your doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes and medications to manage symptoms, such as pain relievers for chest or back pain. The goal of treatment for aortitis is to reduce inflammation, prevent potential complications, and improve overall health and quality of life.
Make an Appointment
To schedule an appointment to discuss arteriosclerotic aortic disease or any other cardiovascular condition, call us at 888-287-1082 or visit our Make a Cardiovascular Appointment page, where you can view other details about scheduling an appointment and learn what to expect when you call us.