An aortic centre is first and foremost a team dedicated to the state-of-the-art of the multi-disciplinary management of aortic disease.  Currently, in most places in the world, patients with aortic disease only come to the attention of an aortic specialist when their aortic problem has reached the point of needing surgery or, worse, when the feared complications of rupture or dissection have already occurred.  

 

As with most diseases, prevention is better than cure and if prevention isn’t possible, early detection and prompt treatment is more likely to lead to the right outcome.

Historically, the aorta was referred to as the orphan or forgotten organ because it ‘fell between’ the territory of cardiac and vascular surgeons. An aortic centre is a multi-disciplinary team of doctors and associated healthcare professionals comprising surgeons, cardiologists, radiologists & geneticists with a specialist interest in the prevention, detection and management of aortic diseases.

An aortic centre is one in which all of the contemporary treatments for aortic disease are available under one roof.  For any given patient, the aortic centre will take care of their aortic disease at every stage. 

Thus, the role of the aortic centre is:

  • to permit early detection through screening of at-risk groups
  • surveillance using the most sophisticated contemporary radiological techniques permitting
  • advice on techniques to slow or prevent the progression of aortic disease through lifestyle choices and medication
  • advising patients on when, and when not, to undergo some sort of intervention or operation
  • performing those interventions or operations using the most sophisticated, contemporary open (conventional) and endovascular (‘keyhole’) surgery to treat or prevent rupture
  • these interventions are frequently hybrid (a combinations) of open and endovascular techniques using bespoke stents and other prostheses specifically manufactured for individual patients
  • long-term follow-up to monitor the development of aneurysms in other parts of the aorta.