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Forum Name: Diseases of the Aorta

Question: Slight dilation of the ascending aorta


 tigerlily - Fri Apr 10, 2009 3:49 pm

Dear DoctorsLounge Team,
first of all please excuse any mistake of spelling or expression; I am not a native speaker of English.

I am a 36-year-old female, BMI 26, and I was diagnosed a slight dilation of the ascending aorta today. The size of the aorta is 36.8 mm (measured by CT and confirmed by ultrasound). Since there was also done a CT of all the vessels in the abdominal area and in the head and the results were not ready today (the doctor had to leave early), my cardiologist only gave me the result of the heart CT and postponed the final consultation to Tuesday.
He just mentioned today that he will probably put me on beta blockers because my HR is quite high (between 80 and 90 - my BP, though, is fine, around 110:65) and that we will do a stress ECG on Tuesday. He said, I can do sports with this dilation but should avoid having a high HR for a longer time, e.g. I should rather do walking than running.

He wants to see me (after the consulation on Tuesday) for a follow-up around August and then probably yearly.

Is there anything else to consider with this diagnosis? How serious is the situation? Is it still allowed for me to become pregnant? Should I lose weight?

Thank you very much in advance for your help!
 John Kenyon, CNA - Thu Apr 23, 2009 10:24 pm

User avatar Hello --

First, your English is excellent!

Now then -- the dilation of your aorta is not remarkable, so unless you also have been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome or a bicuspid aortic valve (which would show up on the heart study when results are in, if either is present), it probably poses no forseeable significant threat, although it should be followed periodically via CT or MRI to be sure it's not expanding more. The beta blocker is an appropriate, although your heart rate really isn't that big a concern, although BP definitely would be, and that seems better than fine.

Once all the other results are available for comparison alongside the possible aneurysm, if nothing else shows up (especially bicuspid aortic valve, which still is not necessarily terribly significant in the short term), then you should be able to persue a vigorous fitness program and also carry a baby full term, although the latter would, of course, require additional studies (sonography) to be certain the aorta isn't expanding during that time.

Based on what you've provided so far, you would seem to be in very good shape. Please do follow up with us once you know the other test restults, however. Good luck to you. Hope this is hepful.
 tigerlily - Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:52 am

Dear Dr. Kenyon,
thank you very much for your detailed answer which was extremely helpful and reassuring.
All other results were fine. The doctor explicitly said that I do not have a bicuspid aortic valve. He did not mention "Marfan" but I am sure he would have if there had been any hint in the results.

Thanks again!

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