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?

@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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Hello Rick, I had to share with you. My mother at the age of 76 had an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm a point away from a 5 cm. so she needed the surgery. Surgery was done in a Well Known Medical Center, Dr's who had done the surgery many times, with an expert team and she came through it with flying colors. Recuperation is up to the Patient. Just wanted to share a positive outcome.

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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 your reply that I'll keep in mind if anything but watchful waiting is recommended.

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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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My mothers Dr's told me it is Hereditary. I'm checked, so far so good.

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Hi my name is Robert Rowland
I'm an aortic aneurysm and dissection survivor I had my surgery 2 years ago never knew I had anything that was wrong with me and woke up in ICU 3 days after surgery back in 2017. I'm not absolutely sure if I'm on the right page or not but I've been looking for someone to talk to or other people to talk to that have gone through this and survived. If you could let me know if I'm on the right page or where I need to be would be greatly appreciate it thank you for your time

Robert Rowland

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Thanks for connecting. I have a 4.1 aortic ascending aneurysm. No surgery yet.

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That's great. I hope you never have to I was 49 I never ever knew I had one. I was hanging out with friends one night and I remember saying I needed to leave I don't remember getting in my car or crashing into the neighbors garage or anything I got woke up three days later in ICU. Talk about getting the shock of your life

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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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Hello @rickbenson and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect!

I notice that you asked for thoughts and professional guidance. As you may know, Connect is a patient-to-patient support group where we offer our own experiences, but we do not offer "professional advice" because we are patients like you and not as a general rule, medical professionals.

After reading your post and seeing that you have been active I'm sure that the discovery of an aortic aneurysm must have been a surprise to you. If you care to share more: How was this aneurysm discovered? Were you having symptoms of some type? What type of test did the doctor request that made this diagnosis? Are you taking any medications now to help control this? Have you considered a second opinion from a well-known heart center regarding the best approach to this problem?

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@robert6767

Hi my name is Robert Rowland
I'm an aortic aneurysm and dissection survivor I had my surgery 2 years ago never knew I had anything that was wrong with me and woke up in ICU 3 days after surgery back in 2017. I'm not absolutely sure if I'm on the right page or not but I've been looking for someone to talk to or other people to talk to that have gone through this and survived. If you could let me know if I'm on the right page or where I need to be would be greatly appreciate it thank you for your time

Robert Rowland

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@robert6767 Hello Robert, I see that you are new to Connect, welcome!
I appreciate you sharing your story. The sudden diagnosis of your aneurysm must have been quite a shock to both you and your friends and family. If you are comfortable sharing more: Had you had any symptoms beforehand that might have been related to the aneurysm? How are you feeling now since your surgery? Do you have many restrictions now about lifting, exercise, etc.?

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@hopeful33250 Good morning. I have no problem sharing my story and what happened to me. To be honest I am glad to have found this, I have looking for some sort of support ever since everything happened to me. At the time I don't think I had any symptoms. Even the night it happened I felt pretty tired, however I had been out of town the day before and had been back in town a few hours, just thought I was tired from traveling. I was told if I had just went to bed that night off instead of going out I would have never woke up the next day. That's probably the scariest part of it all. Because I chose to have dinner with friends and watch a sporting event with them and was not home is the reason I am still here today. Since everything at the beginning it was kind of hard to get going ( at least for me). I am 6'0 and 220. I was shocked at much I had lost in just 10 days in the hospital. I remember the first day they got me up walking and the entire time saying that this shouldn't be this hard. That first time the nurses got up and walking I think I walked a total of 75 feet (maybe). I couldn't believe that walking was the hard and two that little distance whipped my butt. The road back isn't terrible at least it wasn't for me, the hardest part was coming to terms with what had happened. I really glad I found this yesterday. I really need this. It really stinks that there is nothing for us survivors in way of support groups.

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@robert6767

@hopeful33250 Good morning. I have no problem sharing my story and what happened to me. To be honest I am glad to have found this, I have looking for some sort of support ever since everything happened to me. At the time I don't think I had any symptoms. Even the night it happened I felt pretty tired, however I had been out of town the day before and had been back in town a few hours, just thought I was tired from traveling. I was told if I had just went to bed that night off instead of going out I would have never woke up the next day. That's probably the scariest part of it all. Because I chose to have dinner with friends and watch a sporting event with them and was not home is the reason I am still here today. Since everything at the beginning it was kind of hard to get going ( at least for me). I am 6'0 and 220. I was shocked at much I had lost in just 10 days in the hospital. I remember the first day they got me up walking and the entire time saying that this shouldn't be this hard. That first time the nurses got up and walking I think I walked a total of 75 feet (maybe). I couldn't believe that walking was the hard and two that little distance whipped my butt. The road back isn't terrible at least it wasn't for me, the hardest part was coming to terms with what had happened. I really glad I found this yesterday. I really need this. It really stinks that there is nothing for us survivors in way of support groups.

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@robert6767

I so appreciate you sharing your story. I'm glad that you found Connect and have a place to share your experiences. You are correct when you say that it is very difficult to go through a life-altering experience as you did and not find other survivors to share with. As you have shared your experience you will undoubtedly help others.

As I read about you spending several days in ICU I would suggest you also take a look at discussions we have at Connect on Post-ICU experiences. Here are the links to those discussions:

https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/post-intensive-care-syndrome-pics-lets-talk/ and
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-did-you-find-most-surprising-once-you-were-out-of-the-icu/. In these discussions you will meet an ICU nurse, @andreab. You will find her very responsive to your experience and your current feelings.

Please feel free to share in these discussion groups as well.

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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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Thanks for sharing. I noticed you was at 3.8. Before it started growing. I’m so confused with what’s going on. My first echo came back and I noticed my ascending was 3.7. But they didn’t say any thing about it. Just saying my heart was good. So I went to a cardiologist and he said the same but I had a CTA done and it came back my ascending was 3.3 with no aneurysm present anywhere. Went back to the doctor he re measure it now it’s 3.6. All he is saying come back in 6 months for me to check your heart. I’m asking is this an aneurysm. He responded was I’m not sure. This is so confusing to me. Maybe you can give me a lil advice on this. I see that you have been threw it. Thanks

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@kanaazpereira

Hi @DiannaTV @cynaburst @lynnkay1956 @jessicalatessa @HeartPatches @abster93 @elsinann @wangs @mariejnd @jend @teatime @jimmorris900 @glenys123 @mlan68 @janetpomponio @laverne @hopeful33250 @predictable @johnbishop @morningglory @thankful @ch246cf10 @ssams @kdh1 @playsdixie @mamamae @bobireland @trish602 @clevelandme @michellr @aldona @jbsb93 @axels @crhp194 @shakuni11 @janean @grandmajan @morgan44 @smithjss @srlove @jimmorgan @noram @aqs1 @pbr420 @lisaannhicks @redskin39 @hermthor @acara @worry,

I’d like to invite you to the new group dedicated to discussions about aneurysm conditions such as aortic aneurysm, aortic dissection, abdominal aortic aneurysm, abdominal aortic branch occlusion, aortic branch aneurysm, aortitis, thoracic aortic aneurysm, and more.
It’s a space where we can ask questions, share tips and learn about aortic aneurysms from each other. Please drop a note to say hi and introduce yourself.

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Thank you. I look forward to being together in this group. We are watching my aortic aneurysm with 6 months checks. I’m 77 and have ataxia which has meant bad luck with muscles. I have talked with a friend that due to age and general condition had the least invasive procedure. Muffy

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@Drew944

Hi feel down too and try to keep my self up- I’m 48 and felt palpitations on and off since I was 8. I have 2 daughters 3 and 5. A 4.3 aneurysm was found incidentally 6/2018. Been depressed and scared since. I just wanted to share all the positive notes I have been taking to help make my self feel better which sometimes helps:
I wil be fine
Managed/Monitored.
no treatment needed
try not to worry about it
based on size – not dangerous – may never grow larger- keep bp low as it is-mine small-enlarged will be fixed if ever grows-routine
small/stable
no treatment needed-no surgercal indication now or ever only requires observation
no limitations other than bench/heavy weights
can live entire lives with this size and nothing happening
treatable when small – repairable when larger – there is a fix – monitored – most important.
gradual
too small – not a prob
many years checking – not now
keep fit
live and let live
keep up w apts
listen to dr's
repair rate high ie 98% – Full Recovery – Excellent They do millions of these
prob- 10 years – maybe more or ever- out repair – maybe new meds or non/minimaly-invasive fix's
stop thinking about it Dont do this to myself
file under all other worries u dont think of.

STAY POSITIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Thanks for the post – I think your diagnosis is about as close to mine as any I've read on these board so far. I'm 44 and was diagnosed with a 4.3cm ascending aortic aneurysm last month. Of course, at first I thought I would be dead in 2 months…but two cardiologists and a surgeon assured me I would not (at least not from this!). I'm not religious or spiritual at all, but I've taken to saying "It's not going to happen today" every morning, just to remind myself what the reality is.
I do have a question about exercise, though, because I was told the same – just no 'heavy weights'. But what is 'heavy'? And what about cardio? I do 3-4 miles on an elliptical 3-4 days a week, and I'm worried about the blood pressure spikes this might cause. (my BP isn't super high, usually under 130 while at rest, and I've been taking beta blockers since the diagnosis)

Liked by degarden_girl

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@bryanfox Hi Bryan, Oh, I know what you are feeling and the fear and trepidation that the end is near. I've had the same diagnosis as you since 2007 and it was about 3.9 at diagnosis and now is about 4.2. My suggested limitation on lifting weights is 25 lbs. And that is to assure the aneurysm size doesn't enlarge. At the size of 4.3, the approach is to wait and watch. You are on a beta blocker so the pressure on the artery is controlled. I was told to continue with my daily cardio exercise on a strider which is similar to the elliptical but not to exert myself so that I am unable to carry on a conversation while exercising. The beta blocker keeps your blood pressure controlled and is kind of self limiting as it keeps your heart rate low.

You will likely be monitored every 6 months with an echocardiogram and every 2 or 3 years with a CT scan. Be aware that the measurements of these two tests are different. One measures on the bias and the other measures straight across. Also be aware that the technician doing the test can see the measurement differently. So, don't panic if the measurement increases a point or two as the aneurysm itself may not have changed size.

My advice is to follow your cardio's direction on limiting lifting, keep exercising, limit saturated fats and sugars, lose weight if that is an issue and if you smoke, it is imperative that you quit — immediately. And all of that said, Enjoy your life. This aneurysm, with proper treatment may never enlarge to the point of needing repair. And if it does grow, as much as none of us wants surgery, repair can be done.

What a shame it would be if having this aneurysm stole your enjoyment of life. Have fun, make plans and don't be consumed with unnecessary worry.

Best wishes
Donna

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@degarden_girl

@bryanfox Hi Bryan, Oh, I know what you are feeling and the fear and trepidation that the end is near. I've had the same diagnosis as you since 2007 and it was about 3.9 at diagnosis and now is about 4.2. My suggested limitation on lifting weights is 25 lbs. And that is to assure the aneurysm size doesn't enlarge. At the size of 4.3, the approach is to wait and watch. You are on a beta blocker so the pressure on the artery is controlled. I was told to continue with my daily cardio exercise on a strider which is similar to the elliptical but not to exert myself so that I am unable to carry on a conversation while exercising. The beta blocker keeps your blood pressure controlled and is kind of self limiting as it keeps your heart rate low.

You will likely be monitored every 6 months with an echocardiogram and every 2 or 3 years with a CT scan. Be aware that the measurements of these two tests are different. One measures on the bias and the other measures straight across. Also be aware that the technician doing the test can see the measurement differently. So, don't panic if the measurement increases a point or two as the aneurysm itself may not have changed size.

My advice is to follow your cardio's direction on limiting lifting, keep exercising, limit saturated fats and sugars, lose weight if that is an issue and if you smoke, it is imperative that you quit — immediately. And all of that said, Enjoy your life. This aneurysm, with proper treatment may never enlarge to the point of needing repair. And if it does grow, as much as none of us wants surgery, repair can be done.

What a shame it would be if having this aneurysm stole your enjoyment of life. Have fun, make plans and don't be consumed with unnecessary worry.

Best wishes
Donna

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Thanks for the reply. I don't smoke, and I'm overweight, but not by much (I'm 5'10" 195lbs, but fairly broad-shouldered, so I don't put too much stock in the BMI results the calculator gives me). I've heard the "don't exercise harder than a level which would allow you to have a conversation" suggestion, but even when I'm on the elliptical with a steep incline, I'm pretty sure I could still speak to someone without much effort! I spoke with an aortic surgeon and he recommended a CT scan again in 6 months, while the cardiologist only recommended an echo. I'm wondering if he wants a CT this time just to check growth rate, and if it isn't that high, then maybe he'll switch to recommending just echos? It's obviously a less-pressing concern right now, but I don't want to end up Chernobyling myself because of this, either.

Liked by degarden_girl

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