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Aorta in syphilis. Gross specimen of tissue from an aorta in a case of advanced syphilis. Advanced syphilis (in its late or tertiary stage) is when the bacteria Treponema pallidum spreads throughout the body, causing extensive damage to the nerves, brain, liver, eyes, bones, heart and blood vessels such as the aorta, the main body artery. Scarring of the aorta wall will weaken it, and an aneurysm may form. Syphilis is often sexually transmitted.
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