23 year old terrified I have a TAA

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Hi everyone. I am a 23 year old with a history of high blood pressure that I take losartan 25 mg for. I posted on here before, but I just wanted to post an update. The pain has gotten worse. I constantly have pain and a pressure feeling in my left upper back that sometimes radiates to my chest. It also radiates to my shoulder and arm. The pain does not go away ever. It is pretty much always there but gets worse if I tense my back or move a certain way. My heartbeat has been recently going through periods where it feels like it beats really hard. This has been going on more and more often. Now multiple times throughout each day. It seems to get worse with meals or when I lie down. I am terrified that I have a thoracic aortic aneurysm. I have no family history or connective tissue disorder that I know about. I had gone to an urgent care back in May about this and they ran blood work which was normal and did chest x-rays which were also normal. I went to the doctor yesterday (August 1st) and she seems to think that is is not cardiac related. She thinks it is nerve pain and wants me to see a neurologist about it. I still just feel like something more is going on. I think I am going to request some kind of imaging of my chest. I know no one on here can definitively say anything, but I'm just really worried. Did anyone else that had a thoracic aortic aneurysm have these kind of symptoms?

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  • Posted

    i had an aneurysm in my ascending thoracic aorta and did not know it - has no symptoms at all - until it dissected. Aneurysms don't usually have symptoms. it sounds unlikely that you have an aneurysm. i don't know if an x ray can detect an aneurysm. i was told it takes a CT scan with contrast dye to detect a dissection so maybe the same is true of an aneurysm? you could ask your doctor if a normal x ray can detect an aneurysm or if a CT with dye is needed. if the latter, you could ask him/her to order one for you.

    from experience i know that serious anxiety can cause chest pain, rapid or pounding heart, etc. people go to the ER (A&E if you're British) for such symptoms all the time only to learn that there is no physical problem.

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  • Posted

    i also didn't have any symptoms until it happened. i do have anxiety, high blood pressure, & had a very stressful job in retail. If u have panic attacks they can resemble a heart attack. You can have more than one with Chest tightness, neck tightness, you get more scared which is why they call them panic attacks. Don't drink anything with caffeine or smoke cigarettes . They both can make your heart race and give u more anxiety. My DR never took a CT or MRI of my heart & i had to ask for a chest x-ray of which she ordered a basic x-ray the wrong kind . u have to b your own advocate. Just because they are DRs they don't know everything.. I had an aortic dissection. I stepped out of the shower with stabbing pain in my neck, a sign of a possible heart attack. This symptom is mainly in women and it could be in the neck as well. i wound up with a 5.2 centimeter aneurysm that was tearing and i was bleeding into my chest. i had an acute ascending aortic dissection . I was already bleeding into my chest and almost died. Had my dr taken the proper precautions we would have known about the aneurysm and it would have been watched and removed at the proper time. i would go see a cardiologist and they can order the proper tests. Sounds like u r having panic attacks but i am not a DR. cover all your bases.

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  • Posted

    Hi Regina,

    I had a pseudo thoracic aortic aneurysm right next to my aortic valve, just as the aorta comes out of the heart. To be clear, a pseudo thoracic aortic aneurysm is where a thoracic aortic aneurysm has ruptured but the rupture is contained in some way so you don't bleed out. In my case the rupture was constrained by scar tissue that was present in my chest from previous surgery for cancer. So, I am one of the few people who can say that cancer saved my life. Had the rupture not been contained then I would have died within a short time.

    I had no symptoms attributable to this whatsoever.

    The aneurysm was discovered whist I was having a CT Scan (with contrast) in 2018 for an unrelated issue and an observant radiologist spotted it. I estimate that the aneurysm had burst at some time before 2015 since study of historical CT Scans showed it was present in a 2015 but no one noticed!

    I have now had the rising aorta and hemi-arch replaced with a Dacron graft plus an integral mechanical aortic valve.

    If you are in the UK then it is in the NHS constitution that you have the right to specify the doctor/surgeon/hospital that you want to deal with your case (mind you, you might have to fight your GP for it!) I opted for the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital (LHCH) and specifically Mr. Mark Field. He is an expert in this area and heads up among other things a department that specializes TAAs.

    I stress I had no symptoms, discomfort or pain at all. Were I in your shoes I'd talk with a cardiologist and insist on a CT Scan with contrast and make sure that the results of the scan are analyzed by a radiologist who knows what to look for. If an aneurysm is suspected, then make sure you are seen by someone of Mr Field's caliber. I believe the LHCH, Papworth and The Royal Brompton are the leading centers in the UK for aortic aneurysms

    Having said all that, from your description, it doesn't seem like it's anything like what I experienced, so it may not be a TAA at all.

    I hope you manage to get the advice and treatment you need. I know it's scary but even if it's the worst scenario then there will be a way forward but you need to be brave. Fortunately you have youth on your side, that and a positive attitude is your best defense.



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  • Posted

    You can have an ultrasound and that will detect an ascending aortic aneurysm. That is the test that started me toward replacement surgery. I have seen online where it can cost as little as $150. My insurance covered my test so I don't know what it cost but it was certainly a lot less expensive than the $2000 CT with contrast my doctor sent me to after the ultrasound detected the ameurysm. The ultrasound is non invasive. No IV. Just some goo on your chest and it could relieve your anxiety about your aorta exploding.

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    • Posted

      That Is Unless it happens to be the Part of the Descending Aorta which is Behind the Heart Muscle and laying ON the spine and hidden from Echo by the heart tissue and Spine image

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  • Posted

    I had no symptoms with my ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm until it dissected. My aneurysm was discovered when I had a CT scan with contrast for another issue. It was then monitored with an ultrasound. As far as I know most aneurysms don't have many symptoms if any so I would think that your pain and anxiety is caused by something else.

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