Heart and Vascular Care / Heart and Vascular Programs and Services / Marfan Syndrome and Aortic Disorders Center

Marfan Syndrome and Aortic Disorders Center

The nationally recognized specialists at Vanderbilt Heart & Vascular Institute provide personalized care for patients with a wide range of aortic disorders. This care includes top-level treatment for patients with Marfan syndrome, a genetic condition that often causes aortic problems. Together, we help you manage your heart condition so you can live a full, active life.

Marfan Syndrome and Aortic Disorders Center: Why Choose Vanderbilt

When you come to our center, you benefit from:

  • Expert care: We are ranked among the top 20 heart programs in the nation and the only top-ranked program in Tennessee, according to U.S. News & World Report. Patients come to us for treatment, whether they have a routine or complex aortic disorder.
  • Minimally invasive treatments: Our specialists are pioneers in using minimally invasive approaches to treat aortic disorders. In fact, we have trained surgeons around the country in performing these procedures. Minimally invasive surgery, such as endovascular grafting, leads to an easier, shorter recovery for you.
  • Coordinated care for Marfan syndrome: We provide all the services you need for Marfan syndrome. Our patient care coordinator guides you through the diagnosis and treatment process. We connect you with the heart, orthopedic and eye specialists you need for the full spectrum of care.
  • Collaborative approach: Our cardiac and vascular surgeons work together to determine the most appropriate, effective treatment plan for you.
  • Responsive team: Our patient-focused team takes time to get to know you. We are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have. You can also reach your team through our secure online portal, My Health at Vanderbilt.

What Is Marfan Syndrome?

Marfan syndrome is a genetic condition affecting the connective tissue in your body, including your:

  • Heart and blood vessels
  • Bones
  • Joints
  • Eyes

Nearly all patients with Marfan syndrome experience aortic enlargement. This condition occurs when the aorta (the main blood vessel in the body) expands. Aortic enlargement can lead to a life-threatening aortic aneurysm or dissection. It is important that you receive expert, specialized care from physicians experienced in treating this condition.

At our center, we treat both the heart-related symptoms of Marfan syndrome as well as any other symptoms you may have. Our patient care coordinator lifts the burden of navigating your care so you can focus on getting better.

Marfan Syndrome and Aortic Conditions We Treat

The aorta is your heart’s main blood vessel, responsible for pumping blood to the rest of your body. Aortic disorders affect the blood flow of your aorta. We treat patients with Marfan syndrome along with a wide range of aortic disorders, including:

  • Aortic aneurysm, a weak, bulging area in the aorta. It can cause the aortic wall to tear (dissect) or burst, requiring immediate medical attention. Types of aortic aneurysms include:
    • Thoracic, in the chest
    • Abdominal, in the stomach
    • Thoracoabdominal, occurring in both the thoracic and abdominal aorta
  • Aortic dissection, when the aorta tears
  • Aortic valve disease, when the valve between your heart and aorta doesn’t work well
  • Atherosclerosis, hardening and narrowing of the arteries
  • Hypertension, high blood pressure
  • Injury

Aortic Aneurysm Diagnosis

If you are at high risk for aortic aneurysm or you have Marfan syndrome, talk to your doctor about regular monitoring. We use advanced imaging techniques to get detailed, accurate pictures of your heart. Learn more about aortic aneurysms.

Aortic Aneurysm Treatment

Vanderbilt surgeons developed advanced treatments for aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection. Our heart and vascular teams work together to evaluate you quickly and decide the best treatment, which may include:

  • Monitoring: You may not need any treatment if the aneurysm is small. We will continue to work with your primary care doctor to regularly monitor the aneurysm. Monitoring allows us to identify any changes early on and move to active treatment if necessary.
  • Endovascular repair: We are leaders in performing this minimally invasive procedure safely and effectively. Your surgeon carefully places a stent graft (a thin, metal mesh tube) inside the aneurysm to stop it from bleeding or growing. It requires only small incisions, and patients usually recover quickly. Learn more about endovascular repair.
  • Open surgery: Our surgeons repair as many aneurysms as possible using a minimally invasive technique. However, you may need traditional, open surgery to place the graft in your aorta. We always discuss your treatment options with you to determine the most effective approach. Find out more about surgical options.

For aortic dissection, your surgical team will talk to you about your treatment options. We can treat some dissections with medicine, depending which part of your aorta is affected. If you require surgery, our team has extensive expertise in surgery for dissections. We offer both endovascular repair and open surgery.

Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute Locations

Our experienced team of doctors may see patients at additional locations. To find the location closest to you, call (615) 322-2318.

Medical Center East
1215 21st Ave S., 5th Floor
Nashville, TN 37232
(615) 322-3218
Map and Directions

One Hundred Oaks
719 Thompson Ln., Suite 22100
Nashville, TN 37204
(615) 322-2318
Map and Directions

2839 Highway 231 N., Suite 209
Shelbyville, TN 37160
(931) 685-4492
Map and Directions


121 Memorial Drive
Franklin, KY 42134
(270) 598-8056
Map and Directions

Marfan Syndrome and Aortic Disorders Providers