Ascending Thoracic Atortic Aneurysm

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2014
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/24/2014 8:23 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello everyone. Well I recently found that I have a 4.3cm ascending aneurysm. Ironically, I usually do not read the reports from consultations such as the results for shoulder pain. I received results on 10/11/14, did not open it until 10/21/14 because I wrongfully presumed that if there are irregularities I would've received a call from my PCP. So, in addition to the results I expected for both x-rays of shoulders and lung I found that I have a 4.3cm ascending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm. Naturally I panicked and was frustrated at the same time. The results for a new issue and relating to the Aorta caught my attention but not my PCPs. So I emailed him and he immediately set up ultrasound (ECG) a few days from now. In addition to being concerned about the aneurysm, I am frustrated and concerned that my PCP either is far too busy or incompetent. That's another story. Meanwhile I have been checking all things related to the condition. I'm 58 and lift weights 4 to 5 days per week. I do not go overboard but I do lift 30 pound dumbells. I would like to continue but am unsure if it will exacerbate the problem and possibly grow the aneurysm quicker or burst which would be my last day fighting with traffic. I do 50 minutes fast walk/slow trot 4 days per week which is good and I am able to maintain that exercise. I'm not sure what to think about continuing to lift which I usually do for 2 to 2.5 hours most weekdays. Has anyone out there been doing this sort of regiment and have continued lifting? I'm the proud owner of several titanium screws in my lumbar area via 3 surgical procedures. I am not in the market for speeding up surgery. My other question is: Just how long can I delay surgery/growth as this is all new to me? Another concern and perhaps very important is that I live alone so if it were to burst I may be dead before being carted out in an ambulance which would mean completion of 'among the living' course. What would you think of my overall lifting desires and my living situation? I appreciate your feedback.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jun 2013
Total Posts : 42
   Posted 10/25/2014 1:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome Giddyup.

I certainly understand your frustration at being the one that caught the report on your aneurysm. I had an ascending aortic aneurysm repair a little over a year ago. My aneurysm was 4.6 cm at the time of surgery and involved the aorta just above the root to the distal side of the arch. To answer your question, I was told to lay off weightlifting before surgery. You should be careful of doing anything that involves valsalva maneuvers. The good news is I am now weightlifting again. I am very careful not to hold my breath, and I have a 40 pound weight limit. My suggestion to you is to get a cardiologist consult so you can better inform yourself of what to do. Don't despair, at least you know about it, now you can start educating yourself.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2014
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 10/25/2014 5:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you Nightingale57,

I'm curious of where your surgery was performed and if it was open chest or catheter? I'm hoping you say catheter for obvious reasons. On a lighter note my PCP said thank you to me for noticing it among the other 3 reports included in the notification. I have an ultra-sound 11/5 so I'll be speaking with my cardiologist shortly thereafter. Thanks for the heads-up on the valsalva maneuvers. I don't have that to blame because I've never lifted doing that. I have caught myself doing that while lifting some heavier objects such as the tail end of my motorcycle getting it onto blocks. I presume that if I were to go heavier I would so you're right - that will just have to wait. Rupture is not an option if I can help it. You're right about getting educated on it! I've spent the last 4 days asking everything from symptoms to recovery time. Likely there'll be much more. Looking forward to you answering the questions about your procedure - Thanks again.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2014
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 10/28/2014 3:06 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm sorry to hear that your PCP did not inform you about this issue. I had a similar issue and the aneurysm was only discovered after a night in the ER where they took a CT. Previous to that it was not seen on x-ray imaging, except by the doctor on staff in the cardiac section of the ER, and he ordered the CT.

In my own research, the incision site depends a lot upon where the aneurysm is. In my case I have an ascending aortic aneurysm of 4.4cm, and the aortic root is involved so I am likely looking at an open chest surgery - probably a sternum split since there's a couple other things going on such as an aneurysm of my pulmonary artery caused by many years of unchecked pulmonary hypertension.

As for lifting weights: When I was told of my aneurysms, I was told not to do any weight lifting or things that could put stress on the aorta or cause me to tighten up my chest muscles and increase my BP in the process.

You should check with your doc/cardiologist, but I think it's safe to say as a general rule heavy lifting is something you should be avoiding.

Post Edited (Shasari) : 10/28/2014 2:16:03 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2003
Total Posts : 1157
   Posted 10/29/2014 10:32 AM (GMT -6)   
My AA is 3.9 and has been for about 4 years. No recent growth. I do take a beta blocker. I also have Bicuspic Aortic Valve Disease, which is common to also have a AA with it as we become adults. I have already had one open heart surgery to replace the valve. My next valve replacement we will repair the AA too (couldn't do it last time).... so mine will be open of of course.

I do strength training, with body weight (TRX). I've been instructed to not lift more than 20 pounds, but I use that more as a suggestion than a rule.
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