Aortic Aneurysms – Introduce yourself & meet others

Welcome to the Aortic Aneurysms group on Mayo Clinic Connect.

An aortic aneurysm is a bulge in the wall of the aorta. The aorta begins deep in the heart as it emerges from the powerful left ventricle, gently arching over the heart, descending into the chest, and finally into the abdomen. Some aortic aneurysms can be harmless; others can lead to catastrophic problems. I invite you to follow this group and connect with others, share experiences, exchange useful information, and learn about aortic aneurysms. You can get started right away by clicking the +FOLLOW icon on the group landing page.

I’m Kanaaz (@kanaazpereira), and I’m the moderator of this group. When you join, you’ll also likely be welcomed by volunteer patient Mentors and fellow members. Learn more about Moderators and Mentors on Connect.

We’ve got some great conversations going on right now that I think you’ll like. Grab a cup of tea, or beverage of your choice, and lets chat. Why not start by introducing yourself?

@GratefulEveryDay

Hello to All! Nice to connect here with ones with similar diagnosis and see how we are dealing emotionally, since most information I've rcvd is factual and statistical, which I truly appreciate also, but could use some emotional support! After a routine dr. visit Feb 2019, had bp 170/110 that day, so had an ECHO that revealed 3.9 Ascending Aorta Aneurysm. Last few months have been many tests, thankful to be at Mayo, where other aneurysms were discovered- Brain, 2 Illiac and Renal Aneurysm. Also, mention of Fibromuscular Dysplasia (elongated and twisted arteries). Have not had any follow-ups to that even! Brain Aneurysm is where Carotid meets the Ophthalmic Artery, so recheck on that one first- the end of July. Then recheck Aorta Oct since mom died of (undiagnosed) AAA- that dissected, in same area, arch of aorta, incidentally in 9 minutes. I've done 24 gene tests but no known Syndrome, ruled out Marfan's, etc. Definitely Familial Thoracic Aneurysm (hereditary) and the FMD. Just living life in the meantime, going on a 5-mile hike with a club in my area next Monday, level ground around a lake, but afraid to do uphill hikes, and unsure if I can take a plane anywhere. Was only told no running nor lifting weights. Sorry such a long post! I appreciate your writings here, to connect with similar situations and see how it is being treated and how you're doing! Janet

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@GratefulEveryDay Hi Janet, You surely do have a lot of stuff on your plate. I can only comment on the ascending aortic aneurysm as I am unfamiliar with others. But what I know about the ascending aortic aneurysm is that the measure of 3.9 is good news. That is quite small and I am sure your cardio is keeping track of the growth rate. So maybe that is one issue you can decide to not worry about at the moment, just do watchful waiting. Your next ECHO will give you the info you need about how stable this aneurysm is.

I wish you good luck. It sounds like your MD's are being proactive with testing and watching the issues. Let them do the worrying and you continue to enjoy your life while following their instructions about controlling blood pressure and sticking with less strenuous activities.

Best wishes,
Donna

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@ernestine

How many centimeters is your aneurism (sp)?

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4.8 for 3 years in a row. Now the cardiologist says it’s basically disappeared. Thought this impossible but I’m not a Dr.Help if you know. And for all the posting I’ve learned so much by you sharing.

Liked by degarden_girl

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@degarden_girl

Hi @twojunes2 , Sounds like it was a lucky thing that you tripped and then had the good sense to go to the ER to be checked out.

Don't panic about the different readings of the size of the aneurysm. The CT measures straight across and the ECHO measures on a diagonal so will always show a higher number.

What is important is to determine how fast the aneurysm is growing. It may be very stable, especially now that you are on the Losartan. But your next ECHO will give you and your cardio the information needed on growth rate. Mine has been at 4 or 4.1 for many years, very stable. I get an ECHO every 6 months to assure it is remaining stable. Also good to remember is that different technicians can measure slightly differently. So your ECHO reading might be slightly smaller or slightly larger next time but without any actual change in the size.

For me, I hope to never need the surgery but if I do, so be it. Aren't we lucky that medical science has advanced to the extent that such a surgery is possible?

So, my best advice to you is to not worry obsessively about this. Your aneurysm is still quite small and unless it is growing rapidly, you have many healthy years ahead.

Best wishes,
Donna

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Hi Donna, I appreciated your reply – especially the calming words that the aneurysm is measured differently by the CT vs. ECHO, as well as by the technician who is attending the event! My cardio said after November they would measure this every year. I'm going to refer to what you said about having it done every six months. That, to me, sounds more diligent than a year's testing in between. I read from a post I received this morning that someones aneurysm shrank in size. I believe it and think anything is possible! And, yes, we are very lucky that medical science has made the advances it has….the surgery, if necessary, will be another one of life's experiences. I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience and that sort of sums it up on that level, for me. Thanks again for your kind, reassuring words and answering my email. I felt acknowledged and "heard". Thank you!!!

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@twojunes2

Hi Donna, I appreciated your reply – especially the calming words that the aneurysm is measured differently by the CT vs. ECHO, as well as by the technician who is attending the event! My cardio said after November they would measure this every year. I'm going to refer to what you said about having it done every six months. That, to me, sounds more diligent than a year's testing in between. I read from a post I received this morning that someones aneurysm shrank in size. I believe it and think anything is possible! And, yes, we are very lucky that medical science has made the advances it has….the surgery, if necessary, will be another one of life's experiences. I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience and that sort of sums it up on that level, for me. Thanks again for your kind, reassuring words and answering my email. I felt acknowledged and "heard". Thank you!!!

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@abster93 @twojunes2 It is my understanding that an aneurysm will not shrink or disappear. All we can do is follow a healthy lifestyle to do all we can to keep it from growing. An ECHO every 6 months might reassure us that the aneurysm is stable but a CT should be limited to perhaps every three years unless your cardio determines there is reason for it to be done more often. A CT carries a lot of radiation. An ECHO carries no radiation.

BTW, in addition to the open chest repair of an aneurysm there is also a less invasive procedure to install a stent should the aneurysm grow large and the patient is not thought to be a good candidate for the open chest surgery.

We all need to remember that in most cases, the aneurysm is a slowly growing issue. It will likely be years before surgery is needed or considered. In the meantime we need to keep our blood pressure low, our lifting limited to low weights, include lots of fiber in our diets for the obvious reason, exercise with your cardio's OK and keep saturated fats low. It's all we can do and there is just no sense worrying about something we can't change.

Have a great day ladies.

Donna

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@kimspr3

MY MOTHER HAD AN ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM IN HER 70'S. SHE CAME TROUGH SURGERY VERY WELL. MY QUESTION, IS IT HEREDITARY?

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Hi @kimspr3, that you for sharing your mother's success. To answer you question, according to the link below from Mayo Clinic, abdominal aortic aneurysms can be hereditary.
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm/symptoms-causes/syc-20350688
Have you talked to your doctor about this?

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@kimspr3

MY MOTHER HAD AN ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM IN HER 70'S. SHE CAME TROUGH SURGERY VERY WELL. MY QUESTION, IS IT HEREDITARY?

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Hello Ethan, Thank You, I will be seeing a Gastroenterologist Mon. the 8th. Thank you for the Mayo site. Now I'll be a little more educated to ask questions.

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MY MOTHER HAD AN ABDOMINAL AORTIC ANEURYSM IN HER 70'S. SHE CAME TROUGH SURGERY VERY WELL. MY QUESTION, IS IT HEREDITARY?

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Thank you for reaching out. I would like to join the discussion.

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@degarden_girl

@abster93 @twojunes2 It is my understanding that an aneurysm will not shrink or disappear. All we can do is follow a healthy lifestyle to do all we can to keep it from growing. An ECHO every 6 months might reassure us that the aneurysm is stable but a CT should be limited to perhaps every three years unless your cardio determines there is reason for it to be done more often. A CT carries a lot of radiation. An ECHO carries no radiation.

BTW, in addition to the open chest repair of an aneurysm there is also a less invasive procedure to install a stent should the aneurysm grow large and the patient is not thought to be a good candidate for the open chest surgery.

We all need to remember that in most cases, the aneurysm is a slowly growing issue. It will likely be years before surgery is needed or considered. In the meantime we need to keep our blood pressure low, our lifting limited to low weights, include lots of fiber in our diets for the obvious reason, exercise with your cardio's OK and keep saturated fats low. It's all we can do and there is just no sense worrying about something we can't change.

Have a great day ladies.

Donna

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Thank you for your help. The information is good as I am on the 6 months routine check up monitoring a 4.5 aortic aneurysm.

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I have been at 4.5 with a thoracic aortic aneurysm and it has been stable for about 4 years now I try to take it easy and get a C T yearly. So far so good

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A 4.4 thoracic aneurysm was accidentally discovered in 2015 and since then have had yearly CT Scans and echo-cardiograms. As the repeated tests show no growth, both my cardiologist and my heart surgeon have agreed I can now just repeat the echo cardiogram every year and the CT scan every other year, I am happy with that conclusion as I was always concerned with the amount of radiation I was receiving. I keep my BP in check, watch the cholesterol, try to eat healthy, exercise daily and never pick up anything heavier than 15 lbs. I've learned to live with it and not to worry and am happier for it.

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@kanaazpereira

Hello John @jpmerk,

I see that you joined Connect a while ago, and this is your first post; welcome! Do you have questions or concerns about aortic aneurysms?

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I appreciate the opportunity to learn more about this condition through others. I’m 80 years old and my condition has been monitored for at least the last ten years and stayed relatively low and stable until my last two scans. They measured 4.4 then 5.1 six months later.
Because of this, I saw a vascular surgeon recently and had a ct scan to learn why the change from one scan to the next. The results explained the two different readings. My aneurism measures 4.4 to 5.1 depending upon where the scan crosses the aorta.
Now under the care of the surgeon with the next mri in December.
Hope to avoid the need for surgery.

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I am a very active, falconry, cattle farm, hunting, fishing, gardening,73 year old male with a recently discovered 4.2 thoracic aortic aneurysm. For the past few months I have been considering requesting surgery. With the suggested limitations and stress with knowing this time bomb is ticking I believe this is the best decision. Your thoughts and professional guidance please. crb

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@rickbenson

I am a very active, falconry, cattle farm, hunting, fishing, gardening,73 year old male with a recently discovered 4.2 thoracic aortic aneurysm. For the past few months I have been considering requesting surgery. With the suggested limitations and stress with knowing this time bomb is ticking I believe this is the best decision. Your thoughts and professional guidance please. crb

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It is a shock to discover that you have an aneurysm. I was told I had a 3.8 cm infra renal aneurysm 13 years ago. It is now 5.0 cm and I am 80. I lead an active life with no limitations. With my complicated anatomy, the surgeon wants to wait until it reaches 6.0 cm before repair.
Sometimes they grow slow or not at all and sometimes they grow fast and need to be repaired. The repair has risks as well as benefits and most cardiologists say the the risks outweigh the benefits when the size is under 5.5 cm for men and 5.0 for women, It also depends on the particular anatomy as well as your family history and your life habits. I was a smoker and stopped when I learned I had the aneurysm. In the past 13 years, I have kept my blood pressure low with medications, exercised 5 days a week on a treadmill and monitored the growth yearly and now every 6 months sometimes with ultrasound and now with CT scans.
My advise is to find a cardiologist or cardiac surgeon you trust and discuss what is the best option for you. If you don't like the advise, get a second opinion. Good luck .

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@pete398

It is a shock to discover that you have an aneurysm. I was told I had a 3.8 cm infra renal aneurysm 13 years ago. It is now 5.0 cm and I am 80. I lead an active life with no limitations. With my complicated anatomy, the surgeon wants to wait until it reaches 6.0 cm before repair.
Sometimes they grow slow or not at all and sometimes they grow fast and need to be repaired. The repair has risks as well as benefits and most cardiologists say the the risks outweigh the benefits when the size is under 5.5 cm for men and 5.0 for women, It also depends on the particular anatomy as well as your family history and your life habits. I was a smoker and stopped when I learned I had the aneurysm. In the past 13 years, I have kept my blood pressure low with medications, exercised 5 days a week on a treadmill and monitored the growth yearly and now every 6 months sometimes with ultrasound and now with CT scans.
My advise is to find a cardiologist or cardiac surgeon you trust and discuss what is the best option for you. If you don't like the advise, get a second opinion. Good luck .

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Appreciate the thoughts. Just cannot bare the suggested restraints of no lifting, activities, sedentary life, etc . . .

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