The key difference between aortic dilation and aneurysm is that aortic dilation is due to the enlargement of the first section of the aorta, where the aortic valve resides, while aneurysm is due to the enlargement of arteries such as the aorta, cerebral arteries or peripheral, arteries.
Arteries are parts of the cardiovascular system in the human body. They are the blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood from the heart to all other body cells and organs. Therefore, arteries play a huge role in distributing oxygen, nutrients, and hormones throughout the body. Aortic dilation and aneurysm are two medical conditions that affect the arteries in the body. Both conditions are due to the enlargement of the arteries. Therefore, they are life-threatening conditions that need to be managed immediately.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Aortic Dilation
3. What is Aneurysm
4. Similarities – Aortic Dilation and Aneurysm
5. Aortic Dilation vs. Aneurysm in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Aortic Dilation vs. Aneurysm
What is Aortic Dilation?
Aortic dilation is characterized by the observed enlargement of the aorta’s diameter, which is 25% or more than the anticipated size based on sex, age, and body size. As this enlargement progresses, the risk of the aortic dilation developing into an aortic aneurysm increases. Aortic dilation also increases the risk of rupturing or tearing, leading to a life-threatening situation. Aortic dilation is caused by the medial degeneration and destruction of the elastic and collagen fibers in the aorta, which can also be associated with high blood pressure, high stroke volume, and inflammatory diseases. The risk factors for this condition include smoking, any infections someone has had in the past around the heart, high blood pressure, and atherosclerosis. The symptoms of aortic dilation may include chest pain, shortness of breath, chest pain while exercising, fainting or issues with swallowing, palpitations, and ankle swelling.
Aortic dilation can be diagnosed through medical history, physical examination, and echocardiogram. Furthermore, treatment for aortic dilation includes surgery that rebuilds the aortic root and damaged aortic valves.
What is Aneurysm?
An aneurysm is the abnormal swelling or bulge in the wall of a blood vessel, such as an artery. There are different types of aneurysms, such as cerebral (occurs in a blood vessel in the brain), thoracic aortic (occurs in the aorta in the chest), and abdominal aortic (aorta in the abdomen). Some causes of aneurysm include a weakness in the blood vessel wall that has been present since birth, high blood pressure, fatty plaques (atherosclerosis), inherited diseases that result in weaker blood vessel walls, trauma, sexually transmitted infection such as syphilis, polycystic kidney disease, and an infection weakening a section of a blood vessel.
Symptoms of an aneurysm may include lightheadedness, fast heartbeat, severe pain in the head, sudden loss of consciousness, confusion, difficulty in swallowing, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, pain in the abdomen, chest or back, swelling in the neck, and vision changes. The risk factors for this condition are smoking, hypertension, atherosclerosis, illicit drug use or drug abuse, infection, family history, bicuspid aortic valve, poor diet, and obesity.
Aneurysms can be diagnosed through family history, physical examination, X-ray, CT scan, CT or MRI angiography, and ultrasound. Furthermore, treatment options for aneurysm may include endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR), open surgery, endovascular coiling, microvascular clipping, and catheter embolization.
What are the Similarities Between Aortic Dilation and Aneurysm?
- Aortic dilation and aneurysm are two medical conditions that affect the arteries in the body.
- Both conditions are due to the enlargement of arteries
- Aortic dilation can convert to an aneurysm if not managed properly.
- Both conditions can cause life-threatening complications.
- They can be diagnosed through medical or family history, physical examination, and imaging testing.
- They are mainly treated through respective surgeries.
What is the Difference Between Aortic Dilation and Aneurysm?
Aortic dilation is due to the enlargement of the first section of the aorta, where the aortic valve resides, while an aneurysm is due to the enlargement of arteries such as the aorta, cerebral arteries, or peripheral arteries. Thus, this is the key difference between aortic dilation and aneurysm. Furthermore, the dilation of the artery comparatively is smaller in aortic dilation, while the dilation of the artery comparatively is larger in aneurysms.
The infographic below presents the differences between aortic dilation and aneurysm in tabular form for side-by-side comparison.
Summary – Aortic Dilation vs Aneurysm
Aortic dilation and aneurysm are two associated medical conditions. This is because aortic dilation entails a high risk of aneurysm, dissection, or aortic rupture in the absence of surgical treatment. However, aortic dilation is a condition caused when the first section of the aorta, where the aortic valve resides, becomes enlarged. Aneurysm is a condition caused due to an abnormal swelling or bulge in the wall of arteries such as the aorta, cerebral arteries, or peripheral arteries. So, this summarizes the difference between aortic dilation and aneurysm.
1. Nataf, P, and E Lansac. “Dilation of the Thoracic Aorta: Medical and Surgical Management.” Heart (British Cardiac Society), Sept. 2006.
2. “Aneurysm: What It Is, Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment.” Cleveland Clinic.
1. “Morbus Fabry aortic root dilatation 02” By Pr Olivier DUBOURG and Pr Dominique GERMAIN, University of Versailles – St Quentin en Yvelines (UVSQ), Versailles, France. – D. P. Germain: Fabry disease. In: Orphanet journal of rare diseases Vol. 5, 2010, 30, PMID 21092187. PMC 300961. (Review) (CC BY 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Cerebral aneurysm” By Tiago Etiene Queiroz – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia