Enlarged aorta

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/24/2013 3:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello everybody. My husband, aged 55, has been diagnosed with a dilated aorta. We live in France, and the doctors seem very casual about it, just saying come back in six months. He's not being sent for a CT scan or MRI and has not been prescribed any medication, though he has been referred to a sleep clinic to check for sleep apnea. He was suffering from palpitations, hence the Holter test and echography - the latter found the dilated aorta in passing and he has no symptoms. He has been told to lower his cholesterol, which is 241 (some years ago it was 277). He is 5ft 10in and weighs 187lb - he's lost around 7lb in the past month, as I have put him on a diet and we now also walk 4-5km per day. His blood pressure is 'perfect' says the doctor. He has osteoarthritis everywhere, including ankylosing spondylosis in his neck, and a scoliosis in his back, with considerable hip displacement. He takes no medication for this.
His medical documentation, which we have only just received, a month after his exam, says: (Google-translated) "Dilatation of the aorta in its tubular area measured 48.3mm. The aorta at the sinus of Valsalva is measured at 41.1mm. No dilatation of the left atrium. Non-dilated left ventricle with preserved systolic function and an estimated 74.2 percent ejection fraction. Aortic atheroma beginning, with aortic cusps (sigmoids) that are beginning to calcify. The maximal VG (might mean 'left ventricle', ventricle gauche) / Aorta gradient is 26.2mm Hg. Gradient VG / medium Aorta is 15.5mm Hg. Right-hand cavities unexpanded with no signs of pulmonary hypertension."
The report does later refer to 'ascending aorta', so I am assuming that 'tubular area' means the same thing. But 48.3mm seems pretty big to me. And how big should the aorta be at the sinus of Valsalva? Any idea why the two figures are so different?
He's been told to avoid caffeine and don't pick up anything heavy. Is there anything else we can do? I have put him on a low salt, low sugar, low fat diet. Any advice would be gratefully received.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 6/25/2013 3:30 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear TrishD,
 I have the same thing your husband has, an ascending aortic aneurym.  It is sort of a watch and wait situation, but I do recommend getting the CTscan or MRI to get a more exact measurement.  The other thing I recommend is to get a second opinion from a thoracic surgeon who is an aortic specialist, they are out there. If this was your husband first echo, follow up in 6 months will be important so they can judge if its growing or how fast it is growing. I was diagnosed about 3 months ago, it is hard to get used to the idea that I have this thing in my chest. You are on the right track though, being informed is your best defense.

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 6/27/2013 1:34 PM (GMT -6)   
Dear Trish, 
First of all - 74.2 percent ejection fraction yeah yeah yeah happy dance for your hubby!
I am no a physician so I can only share a few numbers with you:
Typical size of the abdominal aorta is 2.0 cm - 3.0 cm ( Remember other factors are taken  into account, male, any other diseases, High BP etc.
A medium aneurysm measures between 5.0cm - 5.3cm
If you have an aneurysm that is larger than  5.6 cm or growing rapidly (grows more than 0.5 cm in six months), you'll probably need surgery.
I hope this helps you in some small way.  My hubby had the 2 D echo because he had bilateral pneumonia just a bit over a year ago and his EF was 48%.  He is on meds but it scares me so keep on talking to us here in the forum.  We will help you as much as we can.
Moderator: Anxiety, Osteoarthritis,
GERD/Heartburn and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.

"The wind blows, the sun rises, the snow falls and the ocean relentlessly pounds the shore. Life rolls on with fresh new possibilities at every turn."
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