The aortic root is the part of the aorta closest to the heart and includes the aortic valve and the origins of the coronary arteries.
The aortic root can develop an aneurysm (bulge), causing the aorta to widen, which sometimes can lead to the aortic valve becoming regurgitant or leaky. Other times the valve remains competent with an aortic root aneurysm.
Aortic regurgitation symptoms
Because of aortic regurgitation, there is less blood reaching the aorta and the rest of the body, including the coronary arteries. Patients with an aortic root aneurysm may feel shortness of breath, fatigue or chest pain with exertion.
Aortic root aneurysm diagnosis
Evaluation for aortic root aneurysm can include a CT angiogram, an MRI and an echocardiogram. Prior to elective surgery, a cardiac catheterization is performed to determine the coronary artery anatomy.