Explore This Treatment Program

The Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center is one of the only vascular centers in the country with specialists in every area of vascular disease. This multidisciplinary team of specialists has developed some of the most innovative therapies available for abdominal and thoracic aortic disease.

Overview: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Vascular Care

The Aortic Disease Program combines the expertise of a team of clinicians from multiple disciplines to provide advanced care from many perspectives, including:

  • Vascular medicine and cardiology
  • Vascular and endovascular surgery
  • Cardiac surgery
  • Vascular imaging and intervention
  • Anesthesiology

We work together with the patient and referring physician to coordinate personalized treatment plans for all patients.

Diagnosis: Vascular Imaging Specialists

To accurately diagnose aortic disease, our team includes attending staff radiologists who are specially trained in the evaluation of the cardiovascular system and whose practice focuses specifically on vascular disease. These imaging specialists are board certified in general radiology and fellowship trained with additional specialization in cardiac and vascular procedures.

We may use one or more techniques to diagnose aortic disease, including:

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Computed tomography angiography (CTA)
  • Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
  • CT scan
  • Intravascular ultrasound

These tests are also available at our convenient Waltham location.

Leading-Edge Treatments for Abdominal Aortic Disease

Our main goal is to evaluate patients and design a personalized treatment plan that decreases the risk of aneurysm rupture. Treatment is determined according to the severity and size of a patient’s abdominal aortic aneurysm and includes:

Medical therapy: Medications used to manage abdominal aortic disease include drugs to control cholesterol and blood pressure

Endovascular stent graft repair: This minimally invasive procedure involves the placement of a covered stent to reline the aneurysm and to keep it from bursting. Stent graft repair is less invasive than open surgery and often results in faster recovery times

Open surgical aneurysm repair: During this procedure, an aortic graft (a durable tube) is sewn in place to replace the weakened segment of artery and keep it from bursting

Access to Promising New Treatments

The Fireman Vascular Center participates in major clinical studies evaluating new technologies and devices to treat abdominal and thoracic aortic disease. This allows us to bring our patients promising new treatments as quickly as possible. Some of these studies include:

  • New devices: Physicians at the Fireman Vascular Center are currently investigating new devices for the minimally invasive treatment of aortic disease, including endovascular stent grafts for thoracic aortic aneurysms and devices that may prevent stent grafts from moving
  • Fenestrated stent grafts: This investigational approach is being studied for its potential to extend endovascular stent graft technology to patients with more complicated abdominal aortic aneurysms
  • IRAD: Massachusetts General Hospital is one of 24 large referral centers participating in the International Registry of Aortic Dissection (IRAD), a leading consortium of research centers that evaluate the management and outcomes of acute aortic dissection
  • Protecting the spine: Physicians from the Thoracic Aortic Center are refining new cerebral and spinal protection techniques that significantly reduce the risk of stroke and paralysis during procedures
  • Patients interested in participating in clinical trials should contact their provider for more information.

View a sample of our clinical research here >

Physicians Specializing in Thoracic Aortic Disease

Thoracic aortic disease affects the portion of the aorta that is in the chest and requires treatment from both cardiac and vascular specialists. Recognizing this approach, Mass General formed the Thoracic Aortic Center, a multidisciplinary program that brings together a team of specialists - cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, vascular and endovascular surgeons - all dedicated to treating thoracic aortic disease. The center attracts patients from across the nation and world for its specialized treatment of acute and chronic aortic dissections, thoracic and thoraco-abdominal aortic aneurysms, Marfan syndrome and coarctation of the aorta.

Our renowned specialists evaluate patients, determine if an intervention is needed and, if so, the appropriate timing for treatment. Advanced treatment options include:

  • Aortic stent grafts: Some cases of aortic dissection can be treated with stents
  • Aortic arch surgery: During aortic arch surgery, physicians use a special graft with branches already sewn in place, cool the body down and supply oxygen-rich blood to the brain using a process called antegrade cerebral perfusion. Our physicians are experienced in treating thoracic aortic disease using this technique

Read more about advanced treatments available at the Thoracic Aortic Center >

One Call Coordinates Care

Our dedicated nurse coordinator is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm to take relevant information about your condition and symptoms and to make a timely appointment with the most appropriate specialist. Call 877-644-8346 or request an appointment online.

We strive to see patients as soon as possible and assign every patient one clinician to organize care between members of our multidisciplinary team. From diagnosis to treatment and follow up, this physician guides patients through the treatment process.

Patient Resources

Our providers have put together patient education resources, including frequently asked questions and guides on improving your cardiovascular health.

FAQs about Aortic Disease

FAQs about Aortic Disease

Learn about how our physicians diagnose and treat aortic disease.

Patient Education
Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

Smoking and Cardiovascular Disease

Of the 437,900 smoking deaths in the U.S. each year, 35% are cardiovascular related.

Patient Education
Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

Many vascular conditions can be improved by maintaining a healthy weight.