Your aorta is the largest blood vessel in your body. When it leaves your heart, it first gives off the branch arteries to the arms and brain. Then it runs down your back and is curved like a walking cane. When an aneurysm (a bulge in the wall of the aorta) occurs where the aorta leaves the heart, it is called an aortic root aneurysm. This type of aneurysm often involves the aortic valve. If the aneurysm occurs past the aortic root but before the curve it is called an ascending aortic aneurysm. If it occurs after the curve the aneurysm is in the descending aorta. If your aneurysm is large (usually greater than 5cm) or if you begin to experience symptoms such as a dull pain in your chest, an unexplained cough or pain in your jaw, back or neck, you may be a candidate for surgery.