Aortic dissection is the most devastating complication of thoracic aortic disease. In the more than 250 years since thoracic aortic dissection was first described, much has been learned about diseases of the thoracic aorta. In this review, we describe normal thoracic aortic size; risk factors for dissection, including genetic and inflammatory conditions; the underpinnings of genetic diseases associated with aneurysm and dissection, including Marfan syndrome and the role of transforming growth factor beta signaling; data on the role for medical therapies in aneurysmal disease, including beta-blockers, angiotensin receptor blockers, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors; prophylactic surgery for aneurysm; surgical techniques for the aortic root; and surgical and endovascular management of aneurysm and dissection for different aortic segments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1725-1739
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number16
StatePublished - 21 Oct 2014


  • Marfan syndrome
  • aortic aneurysm
  • cardiac surgical procedures
  • endovascular procedures
  • risk factors
  • transforming growth factor beta


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