Aortic Disease

UAB Medicine vascular, valve, and cardiac specialists treat the full range of cerebrovascular, mesenteric, renal, and peripheral artery conditions, using the latest open and endovascular approaches. Conditions treated include aortic aneurysms (in all anatomic locations), aortic stenosis, aortic dissection, traumatic aortic injury/transection, aortic insufficiency, aortic periprosthetic valve leaks, and connective tissue syndromes such as Marfan, Ehlers-Danlos, and Loeys-Dietz, among many others. Our clinicians are actively involved in advanced research to develop new therapies and techniques, as well as endovascular devices that are tailored to each individual aneurysm patient.

Our experts have earned a well-deserved reputation for excellent outcomes with all types of aortic conditions, including:

  • Ascending aortic aneurysms, which typically require open surgery, performed by a cardiac surgeon.
  • Aortic arch aneurysms, which traditionally have been repaired with open methods. However, newer endovascular methods are currently in development that allow for minimally invasive treatment in some cases. Additionally, hybrid open and endovascular procedures are sometimes used to allow for a less invasive option than a traditional open operation. These procedures may require the involvement of both vascular and cardiac surgeons.
  • Descending thoracic aneurysms, which are most commonly treated with endovascular methods, though arterial anatomy and the cause of the aneurysm may preclude a minimally invasive approach. Endovascular treatment of these aneurysms often is referred to as TEVAR (thoracic endovascular aortic repair).
  • Thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysms, which are among the most complex type of aortic aneurysm and carry the highest repair risk. Depending on arterial anatomy and the cause of the aneurysm, thoracoabdominal aneurysms may be treated with endovascular, open, or hybrid techniques.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysms, the most common type, are most often treated with endovascular methods but sometimes require open surgery depending on a variety of factors.


UAB Medicine’s specialty-trained surgeons and physicians are leaders in their field and have excellent track records in treating some of the most complex aortic diseases and conditions. That expertise is backed by the latest and most advanced technology, facilities, and treatment options, as well as our dedication to patient-centered care. We confer extensively with each patient to determine a specific diagnosis and treatment plan based on medical history, physical exam, and a variety of non-invasive testing that includes ultrasound, Doppler with plethysmography, CT scans, and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA).

We maintain operating rooms designed specifically for vascular procedures, where we are able to perform hybrid aortic aneurysm repairs, combining both open surgery and minimally invasive endovascular techniques while maximizing the benefits of both. We employ 3D overlay fusion technology in these hybrid operating rooms, in which pre-operative imaging is overlaid with images captured during surgery, providing greater accuracy and improved outcomes. As a major academic medical center, UAB Medicine maintains an active research program that also manages clinical trials. Our commitment to innovation and discovery often means that patients have access to new treatments long before they are available to the general public.

How to Refer

To refer a patient to UAB Medicine, please call UAB MIST (Medical Information Service via Telephone) at 1-800-UAB-MIST (800-822-6478).

UAB Ambassador for Referring Physicians

UAB Ambassador is a service that allows referring physicians to access their patients’ UAB records – including inpatient and outpatient documents, activities, and lab results – through a secure online portal. For more information, please call 1-800-UAB-MIST (1-800-822-6478) and ask to be connected with UAB Physician Services, or e-mail



Educational Opportunities

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms

Adam Beck — According to the NIH, an arterial aneurysm is defined as a focal dilation of a blood vessel with respect to the original artery. The risk of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) increases dramatically in the presence of the following factors: age older than 60 years, smoking, hypertension and Caucasian ethnicity. The likelihood that an aneurysm will rupture is influenced by the aneurysm size, expansion rate, continued smoking and persistent hypertension. Listen as Adam W Beck, MD explains that the majority of AAAs are asymptomatic and are detected as an incidental finding on ultrasonography, abdominal computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging performed for other purposes.

Heart & Vascular -- Abdominal Aneurysm


Release Date: July 3, 2017
Expiration Date: July 3, 2020


Target Audience: Cardiologists and primary care physicians
Disclosure: Dr. Beck has no financial relationships related to the content of this activity to disclose. There is no commercial support for this activity.


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Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm

Learning Objective / Overview: Adam Beck, MD, illustrates how grafts are successfully placed in complex abdominal aortic aneurysms with respect to type of grafts used and surrounding anatomy. After completion of the course, participants should be able to describe aortic aneurysms and their inherent risks to the patient. Additionally, participants should be able to discuss the contemporary treatment of aortic aneurysms.

Accreditation statement:The University of Alabama School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of Alabama School of Medicine designates this online enduring material activity for a maximum of 0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.