The aorta is the biggest artery in the body. It starts from the heart and supplies blood to the whole body through branches of arteries. Disease in the aorta can lead to abnormal narrowing and dilation (swelling) of the arteries. These diseases include aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection.
Aortic aneurysm refers to the abnormal dilation of the aorta. The dilation of the aorta’s wall may cause the aorta to burst, which can then lead to massive internal bleeding and severe pain.
Aortic dissection refers to a tearing in the wall of the aorta. The dissection causes the layers of the wall of the aorta to come apart as blood is flowing between the layers. Rapid blood loss can occur if the aorta is completely torn apart by the dissection. This presents a medical emergency.