Aortic Aneurysms, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

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stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 5/30/2014 7:35 AM (GMT -7)   
Good Morning Members,
 
This topic is one of our most popular topics in this forum.  I see there is another one posted by a member below, however, I am starting a general topic for everyone who wants to share, ask questions or decrease their fears.
 
Usually, aortic aneurysms are found in older people and are associated with hypertension or high blood pressure. The increased force of blood being pushed from the heart against the walls of the aorta combined with a gradual breakdown of the protein and elastic fibers in the blood vessel wall causes a weak spot to form.
 
When a portion of the aorta weakens, it can balloon out just like a tire wall can have a weak spot that balloons out.
 
In younger patients, the mechanism is different, and a couple of different risk factors are present. With Marfan syndrome, a gene mutation can cause an abnormal protein in the building blocks that make up the aorta and this leads to weakened arterial walls.
 
Another alternative cause is an abnormal aortic valve, the one way valve that allows every heart beat to squeeze blood from the heart into the aorta.
 
Many of our members want to talk about the treatments, procedures and outcomes others have experienced.
 
I invite each of you to post your questions ETC here in this thread.
 
Welcome to all,
 
Kitt
 
 
~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic
and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.


"She Stood in the Storm & When the Wind Did Not Blow Her Away, She Adjusted Her Sails."

Soybean
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 5/30/2014 2:22 PM (GMT -7)   
I am still in the anger stage of my illness. I just got married four weeks ago and I got the news of my aneurysm three days before the wedding. This should not be happening. My aneurysm is at 4.3, it is round and in the root. I had an aortic valve replacement in2004 with a tissue valve and have had no problems. My next CT is in August. The waiting is killing me.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 5/31/2014 8:45 AM (GMT -7)   
Soybean,
 
Hello and welcome to HealingWell.  I am so sorry to read of your aneurysm and I can understand why you are angry. Have you been referred  to a thoracic surgeon at this point? Also did your Cardiologist start you on something for your BP?
 
The decision on how to best treat a thoracic aneurysm or the aorta depends on its size and rate of its growth, location and your overall health. The risk of rupture increases when the aneurysm is larger than about twice the normal diameter of a healthy aorta blood vessel.

If a thoracic aneurysm is small and causes no symptoms, your physician may recommend “watchful waiting,” which includes:
  • Close monitoring of the aneurysm with CT or MRI scans every 6 months
  • Blood pressure medication to control high blood pressure, and decrease pressure on the weakened area of the aneurysm
  • Restriction of some physical activities. Heavy lifting should be avoided due to increased pressure on the aorta, which may put an aneurysm at risk of rupture

The decision to treat a thoracic aneurysm with surgery is determined by many factors, including:

  • The presence of symptoms, including chest and back pain, and pain in the jaw, neck and upper back
  • If the aneurysm is growing more than 1 centimeter (cm) per year
  • Signs of an aortic dissection, including sudden, severe sharp tearing pain in the chest or back
  • The age of the patient and the patient’s overall medical condition

New evidence has shown that the size of the aneurysm in addition to a patient’s height plays an important role in the decision for surgery. While 5 centimeters is the size most aneurysms are considered for surgery, Cleveland Clinic surgeons have compiled years of experience and published studies to find that a patient’s height and their aneurysm’s size strongly correlates with the need for surgery. For instance, a patient who is over 6 feet tall with a 5 centimeter aneurysm would be recommended for surgery. Yet, a patient who is 5 feet 7 inches with a thoracic aneurysm of 4.7 centimeters is a candidate for surgery due to their individual risk of rupture.

Due to highly individualized characteristics guiding the decision for surgery, it is best that a physician closely monitor your thoracic aneurysm on a regular basis.

I am posting the link that provided the info I have shared with you:

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/heart/disorders/aorta_marfan/surgerythoracicaneurysm.aspx

I do not know how much info your Dr. shared with you so please continue to talk with us here in the forum as we are here to support you.  We are not physicians but we do care about you as a person going through a tough time.

The waiting is probably the worst part, but the restrictions really only preclude intense activities( check with your Dr. re your restrictions.)  There is a series of Pulitzer Prize winning articles by a journalist living with an aneurysm. In one of the articles he talks about completing a race (triathlon) and accomplishing his goal of doing so SLOWER than he has in the past. A different take on competition. If you choose to read the article remember it is from 2004, ten years ago and medicine/procedures have come a long way.

 

http://www.mhsec.com/downloads/KahleWSJarticle.pdf 

I hope you choose to keep talking with us as many of us feel fear and anger at our own particular medical dx.

I wish you peace,

Kitt


~~Kitt~~
Moderator: Anxiety/Panic
and Heart/Cardiovascular Disease.


"She Stood in the Storm & When the Wind Did Not Blow Her Away, She Adjusted Her Sails."

Post Edited (stkitt) : 5/31/2014 9:55:57 AM (GMT-6)


chrisbchester
New Member


Date Joined Jun 2014
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 6/6/2014 1:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Soybean said...
I am still in the anger stage of my illness. I just got married four weeks ago and I got the news of my aneurysm three days before the wedding. This should not be happening. My aneurysm is at 4.3, it is round and in the root. I had an aortic valve replacement in2004 with a tissue valve and have had no problems. My next CT is in August. The waiting is killing me.


Man what are the odds. I had an aortic valve replacement in 2005, and last year an aortic aneurysm appeared on the CT scan two months before my wedding. Mine was closer to 5, so I decided to get it taken care of about three weeks after we got back from the Honeymoon.

Not the best time, and kicked my ass more than the valve replacement, but ultimately worth it for the peace of mind.

I've never heard about a connection between aortic valve prostheses and aneurysms, but here we are.

jdiane
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 1155
   Posted 6/6/2014 6:10 PM (GMT -7)   
There is a connection between bicuspid aortic valve disease and aortic aneurysm. They go hand in hand. Any chance you the congenital disease of the valve?

Soybean
New Member


Date Joined May 2014
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 7/4/2014 3:18 PM (GMT -7)   
chrisbchester said...
Soybean said...
I am still in the anger stage of my illness. I just got married four weeks ago and I got the news of my aneurysm three days before the wedding. This should not be happening. My aneurysm is at 4.3, it is round and in the root. I had an aortic valve replacement in2004 with a tissue valve and have had no problems. My next CT is in August. The waiting is killing me.


Man what are the odds. I had an aortic valve replacement in 2005, and last year an aortic aneurysm appeared on the CT scan two months before my wedding. Mine was closer to 5, so I decided to get it taken care of about three weeks after we got back from the Honeymoon.

Not the best time, and kicked my ass more than the valve replacement, but ultimately worth it for the peace of mind.



I've never heard about a connection between aortic valve prostheses and aneurysms, but here we are.


Thank you for writing. You said you decided to have the repair done at 5cm. Did your doctor agree to do the repair at that point or did you have to talk him into it? Also, it kicked your ass more then the valve surgery, can I ask how old you are? Did you have trouble with your memory? I did after the valve surgery! How are you feeling now?

Aginn10
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 7/13/2014 10:22 AM (GMT -7)   
Well.. Good.. I've been married to my husband 17 years. He's 59 I'm 38. In 2000 he had a bypass. Since then 4 heart attacks 3 stents pacemaker difibulater (died while driving) stage 4 neck aNd throat cancer and I there's more. There's be 24 hospitalizations alone. Abyway we learned he had a 4.1 TAA june 20. It want there may last year. He can't be operated on ever. His health is too bad. Too risky. He hasn't felt good. Seems to almost be getting worse?? I'm mad I'm scared I'm getting screwed out of many more years with my soulmate. It breaks my heart. Anyone else inoperable?
Amy

winemaker
New Member


Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 8/12/2014 4:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi. First-timer. I have a 4.9mm AAA (diagnosed 3 years ago at 4.8) and I'm still working at age 65. Opinions on repair? Should I do it now? How long is recovery? I assume it is open chest? My doctor suspects Marfan Syndrome but I have not had the DNA test to confirm it. And I'm 6'4".

Post Edited (winemaker) : 8/12/2014 5:15:20 PM (GMT-6)

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