ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Aortic aneurysm. X-ray of the thorax of a patient (frontal view) showing swelling of the aortic arch (to right of upper centre). This is suggestive of an aortic aneurysm in the descending thoracic aorta. An aneurysm is an abnormal blood- filled dilation in an artery, caused by weakening of the arterial wall. The aortic arch carries oxygenated blood out of the heart and into the descending thoracic aorta. Aneurysms of the thoracic aorta may be caused by hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure, or syphilis. Treatment of thoracic aortic aneurysm is usually by surgery to replace or repair the damaged portion of artery.
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