Genetic Basis of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms and Acute Aortic Dissections: Molecular Pathways and Gene-specific Management – Cardiology Grand Rounds

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The major diseases affecting the thoracic aorta are aortic aneurysms and acute aortic dissections. Medical treatments can slow the enlargement of aneurysms, but the mainstay of treatment to prevent premature death resulting from dissection is surgical repair of the thoracic aortic aneurysm, which is typically recommended when the aortic diameter reaches 5.0 to 5.5 cm.

Data from genetic studies during the past decade have established that mutations in specific genes can distinguish patients at risk for the disease and predict the risk of early dissection at diameters smaller than 5.0 cm. This information has the potential to optimize the timing of aortic surgery to prevent acute dissections.