You may not feel any symptoms with TAA. Only half of patients with thoracic aortic aneurysms experience symptoms. Most TAA’s are detected when imaging studies are being done for an unrelated condition.
If you do have symptoms, they will depend on where your aneurysm is located and how large it is. Possible symptoms include:
- Pain in the jaw, neck, and upper back
- Chest or back pain
- Coughing, hoarseness, or difficulty breathing
If your aneurysm is large and in the section of the aorta closest to the heart, it may affect your heart valves. This can result in shortness of breath or even heart failure if the leakage is severe.
Descending thoracic aneurysms are mostly asymptomatic, but they can occasionally cause back pain, and, if the aneurysm is large enough, it can cause abdominal pain. Most of the symptoms associated with stable thoracic aneurysms, are vague and non-specific. However, rupture or dissection of these aneurysms produce dramatic symptoms. Most patients report a ripping sensation in the chest, accompanied with severe pain in the back between the shoulder blades. Dizziness, fainting, difficulty walking and speaking can also accompany this acute event. This is a life-threatening situation and you should seek medical attention immediately.