RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — RTI International will create a nation-wide as part of a $6.75 million project to improve clinical management of patients who suffer thoracic aortic aneurysms.

The project is being funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

The aneurysms lead to a weakening of the heart’s main artery that leads to the death of thousands of people a year.

The registry will include 3,500 patients who have thoracic aortic aneurysms that are genetically triggered. It will include blood and tissue samples plus medical, surgical, quality of life and other information.

“This registry will vastly improve our understanding of the disease progression processes,” said Barbara Kroner, a senior epidemiologist at RTI and principal investigator for the project. “The knowledge we gain from studying these patients will help physicians, researchers and scientists improve the diagnosis and treatments available for patients with thoracic aortic aneurysms and other life-threatening cardiovascular complications associated with connective tissue diseases.”

RTI will work with Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, Oregon Health Sciences University and the University of Texas at Houston.