Early surgery: Can I get aortic aneurysm repair before it's 5.0?

Posted by ontogenyx @ontogenyx, Sep 26, 2020

I have a 4.1 ascending aortic aneurysm, and my local cardiologist tells me what every other one tells me, including Cleveland Clinic and Mayo. No surgery considered until 5.0, if valves are in good shape (mine are, except for 5% regurgitation).

The rationale offered for waiting: the risk of the surgery is greater than the risk of an event resulting from the aneurysm before it reaches 5.0. Meanwhile, I am told to limit myself to moderate exercise and to take drugs, in hopes of slowing growth of aneurysm.

I will be 71 next month, in good health, and very active. I am more interested in getting the repair done now so that I can resume a full life, rather than waiting around until I get feeble and less likely to have a good result when they eventually open me up for repair. I am much more willing to accept the risk of the surgery now than I will be 10 years down the road. I know, I know–it might never even require surgery–in which case, I can continue my life of "moderate exercise" until my number is finally up. Not interested.

Does anyone know a top surgeon who is willing to talk with me about getting this done now or in the near future?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Aortic Aneurysms group.

I was diagnosed last August '21 with a 4.7cm Ascending aortic aneurysm. No symptoms then or now. I decided to get a ct scan on my own dime after loosing two neighbors suddenly to burst aortas. I wasn't happy with my primary Doctor's response which was putting me on the minimum BP medicine and come back in a year for a follow up. I'm 56, 6'2", 210 and pretty healthy otherwise. I had a second round of testing which insurance covered including an echo cardio gram and ultrasound. Valves are fine, kidneys are good, arteries ok, and the rest of my aorta is minimally over normal. Met with a Cardiologist, again on my own suggestion. I also increased my BP medicine as I wasn't happy yet with it. I've adjusted my eating probably 75% of where I should be and I don't smoke. I'm definitely researching facilities that perform less invasive procedures. Looks like the risks are still there, but recovery is much less. Looking forward to sharing more information and learning more from this forum. Thank you in advance. Darren

REPLY
@cobweb

mine is 4.9 and they say wait because its safer to wait than having surgery. Its not fun waiting but surgery does not sound like f either.

Jump to this post

i have 4.9 also. Have watched it go from 4.4 to 4.9. Asked why we don't do surgery. Answer, can die on the table etc. So, we wait.

REPLY
@dwander501

I was diagnosed last August '21 with a 4.7cm Ascending aortic aneurysm. No symptoms then or now. I decided to get a ct scan on my own dime after loosing two neighbors suddenly to burst aortas. I wasn't happy with my primary Doctor's response which was putting me on the minimum BP medicine and come back in a year for a follow up. I'm 56, 6'2", 210 and pretty healthy otherwise. I had a second round of testing which insurance covered including an echo cardio gram and ultrasound. Valves are fine, kidneys are good, arteries ok, and the rest of my aorta is minimally over normal. Met with a Cardiologist, again on my own suggestion. I also increased my BP medicine as I wasn't happy yet with it. I've adjusted my eating probably 75% of where I should be and I don't smoke. I'm definitely researching facilities that perform less invasive procedures. Looks like the risks are still there, but recovery is much less. Looking forward to sharing more information and learning more from this forum. Thank you in advance. Darren

Jump to this post

I would love to have information about less invasive procedures and their risks. Would you please share?

REPLY
@mermaid1

I would love to have information about less invasive procedures and their risks. Would you please share?

Jump to this post

Hello, I’m in the beginning stages of my research and not well versed enough to tell you much detail yet. There are several facilities performing these less invasive procedures and I just started googling them, watching videos , and reading articles. I’m pretty sure this will be mainstream soon. The risks appear to be the same as full open heart surgery , but drastically less recovery time. If there’s complications during surgery, they procedure is to open the chest anyway. Not everyone is a prime candidate though. I’m hoping to schedule an appointment with a Cardiologist here at Mayo in Rochester soon to see if I’m a candidate. I feel like I’ve got an opportunity to live longer because had it not been for my decision to get a ct scan due to my neighbor’s passing, my aneurysm would have burst in 2-3 years. It’s a silent killer. I was drinking about 120 Oz of either Diet Pepsi or Rock star daily and eating as if I was invincible. That’s all changed. Good luck to you!
Darren

REPLY
@dwander501

Hello, I’m in the beginning stages of my research and not well versed enough to tell you much detail yet. There are several facilities performing these less invasive procedures and I just started googling them, watching videos , and reading articles. I’m pretty sure this will be mainstream soon. The risks appear to be the same as full open heart surgery , but drastically less recovery time. If there’s complications during surgery, they procedure is to open the chest anyway. Not everyone is a prime candidate though. I’m hoping to schedule an appointment with a Cardiologist here at Mayo in Rochester soon to see if I’m a candidate. I feel like I’ve got an opportunity to live longer because had it not been for my decision to get a ct scan due to my neighbor’s passing, my aneurysm would have burst in 2-3 years. It’s a silent killer. I was drinking about 120 Oz of either Diet Pepsi or Rock star daily and eating as if I was invincible. That’s all changed. Good luck to you!
Darren

Jump to this post

I'm in the same situation. After 2 friends died, I had a CT scan on my own dime and they found 4.3cm ascending aortic aneurysm. The surgeon also told me the risk ratio was against surgery now. He added a Beta blocker to my existing BP medication and said no heavy lifting, no more heavy weight lifting workouts, etc. I hate the idea of this ticking time bomb in my chest, but am just beginning to research options besides annual CT and echo while waiting for it get bigger. I absolutely don't want to need surgery in 20 years when I'm 80. I just came across an alternative weight lifting called the one hundred that sounds safer, but is going to take a lot to adjust to. Let me know if you come across anything interesting.

REPLY
@mermaid1

I'm in the same situation. After 2 friends died, I had a CT scan on my own dime and they found 4.3cm ascending aortic aneurysm. The surgeon also told me the risk ratio was against surgery now. He added a Beta blocker to my existing BP medication and said no heavy lifting, no more heavy weight lifting workouts, etc. I hate the idea of this ticking time bomb in my chest, but am just beginning to research options besides annual CT and echo while waiting for it get bigger. I absolutely don't want to need surgery in 20 years when I'm 80. I just came across an alternative weight lifting called the one hundred that sounds safer, but is going to take a lot to adjust to. Let me know if you come across anything interesting.

Jump to this post

Can you tell me more about this “beta blocker”. They’ve not mentioned it to me. Thanks very much !

REPLY
@dwander501

Can you tell me more about this “beta blocker”. They’ve not mentioned it to me. Thanks very much !

Jump to this post

Hello @dwander501 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Your concern over the aortic aneurysm is certainly understandable and your search for the best opinion possible is important. You are wise to research and get other opinions.

You asked about "beta-blockers" which are one type of blood pressure medicine that also slows the heart rate. Here is some information on beta-blockers from Mayo Clinic's website, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/beta-blockers/art-20044522. Perhaps you will see the name of your current BP med listed here.

From what you have posted, I understand that you have no symptoms at this time. Is that correct?

If you are comfortable sharing more, what BP med are you currently taking? Do you have a family history of aneurysms?

REPLY

Hello! Thanks for responding. Yes, I currently have no symptoms. I’m taking 50mg of Losartan currently. I was prescribed 25 to start , but I suggested it be increased. I’ve learned you simply cannot sit back and accept the general guidelines offered. I’ve been proactive from the start. Pretty sure I would have dropped dead like both my neighbors within the next 3 years if I hadn’t scheduled my own CT scan. I appreciate your advice very much.
Thank you

REPLY
@hopeful33250

Hello @dwander501 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Your concern over the aortic aneurysm is certainly understandable and your search for the best opinion possible is important. You are wise to research and get other opinions.

You asked about "beta-blockers" which are one type of blood pressure medicine that also slows the heart rate. Here is some information on beta-blockers from Mayo Clinic's website, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/beta-blockers/art-20044522. Perhaps you will see the name of your current BP med listed here.

From what you have posted, I understand that you have no symptoms at this time. Is that correct?

If you are comfortable sharing more, what BP med are you currently taking? Do you have a family history of aneurysms?

Jump to this post

I have no family history of heart problems as best I can tell. I didn’t have an elevated bp until last August ‘20. I’m retiring in 45 days to decrease my stress also. Very much interested in learning more about whether I’d be a future candidate for the less invasive surgery Offered at Mayo.
Also, I have a Colonoscopy planned for 3/16. I’ve got to see if it’s safe for that procedure with my condition. Thanks so much.

REPLY
@hopeful33250

Hello @dwander501 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Your concern over the aortic aneurysm is certainly understandable and your search for the best opinion possible is important. You are wise to research and get other opinions.

You asked about "beta-blockers" which are one type of blood pressure medicine that also slows the heart rate. Here is some information on beta-blockers from Mayo Clinic's website, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/beta-blockers/art-20044522. Perhaps you will see the name of your current BP med listed here.

From what you have posted, I understand that you have no symptoms at this time. Is that correct?

If you are comfortable sharing more, what BP med are you currently taking? Do you have a family history of aneurysms?

Jump to this post

The next phase of my research is going to be natural things I can purchase to strengthen my blood vessels. I figure I’ll give it my best shot to prolong the inevitable surgery!

REPLY
Please sign in or register to post a reply.