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Date of last update: 10/20/2017.

Forum Name: Diseases of the Aorta

Question: Atherosclerotic calcification

 Tuffy - Fri Feb 22, 2008 6:39 pm

I have recently experienced dibilating low back pain with left hip, leg and foot pain. I was sent for a CT scan of the lumbarsacral spine. It said "Atherosclerotic calcification is present in the distal aorta and aortic bifurcation". I had two heart attacks in 2002 within 3 months of each other and I have 3 stents in my heart mid-lad.

I have several protrusions in my lumbar spine that indent the dural sac and extends into the foramina. I had a back injury in 1995 and I just assumed this pain in my back is truly back pain. Should I worry about it being from my heart? I have been very stressed for the last 6 months.

Should I be seeing my cardiologist? Am I going to have an aneursym from this calcium in my aorta?

thank you.
 Dr. A. Madia - Fri Feb 29, 2008 10:41 am

User avatar Atherosclerosis is a process in which the inner lining of the arteries get fat deposition, on which calcium is also deposited and gradually the lumen gets narrowed. This was what caused you the heart attack in the first place.

Now, aorta is also an artery, and has the same tendency to get these fatty plaques. The disease process is the same, so some one having atherosclerosis in coronary is likely to have it in the aorta as well. However aorta has adiameter of about one and a half inch, so it hardly affects the blood flow, as against the heart arteries which have a diameter of 4-5 millimeteres.

So your pain is certainly not due to the atherosclerosis in aorta, neither it has anything to do with your heart. I would advice you though to keep taking some form of a statin -Lipitor or Zocor- so as to prevent this atherosclerosis from progressing.


P. s. You will almost never ever get an aneurysm, it is highly unlikely. You need to see a spine doctor for your pain.

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