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Mikey1720 Mikey1720

Aortic Aneurysm, 4.4 CM

Hi All, I hope folks can provide some advice or direction.  Just had a CT scan and showed I have a 4.4 CM aortic root.  I am 6'2, about 245lbs, early 40s.  The cardiologist was not super helpful and told me to find an aortic specialist.  She wasnt terribly concerned since I am relatively active but did advise to monitor.  I understand 5.0 CM + is the time where you should consider surgery.  How much does an aortic root grow?  how can you stop the growth?  I am obviously worried and trying to figure out next steps and severity of this.  Thanks all!  

7 Replies

  • deb22635 deb22635 Mikey1720

    Hi

    I have a 4.5 ascending aortic aneurysm , sitting on top of heart right next to valves,and have bicuspid valves ,and genetics family history! I'm 5"6 ,they told me at 5 they will do surgery, because of biscuped valves and family history ,other wise usually at 5.5 they do it, so sorry you are on this journey also,but so good you know so you can be monitored, my cardiologist monitors me once it gets bigger will send me to surgeon , and to be honest they are unpredictable how fast they grow some don't grow for years and then grow fast , everyone is different and you can't predict ,I'm on BP meds and trying to keep heart rate down ,no heavy lifting etc , trying to slow it down ,I'm 51 found out last year I had , played with my mind alot when I first found out ,some days feel like a walking time bomb ,but doing better now and enjoying life ,it may never grow , Hope this helps you some !

    Deb!

    • Mikey1720 Mikey1720 deb22635

      Thanks Deb for the quick response and reassurance. It definitely feels like a ticking time bomb and starting on BP meds.  My pressure is normally 120/75 so decent measurements.  Has your aneurysm grow in the past year?  Any suggestions on how to find a good doc?  The cardiologist I saw today admitted she is not an aortic specialist and I should find one.  I did read that if you elect surgery and its successful, you are a new person.  Sorry you have to go through this as well and hope you can prevent it from growing.  The cardiologist put me on Losartan which sounds promising for aortic aneurysms.  

      Thanks again, it definitely helped! 

      Mike

  • mide14661 mide14661 Mikey1720

    Hi Mikey-

    Welcome to the forum. I'm in a similar boat as you (4.7 cm aortic root aneurysm; 43 years old). No other medical conditions other than a bit overweight and HBP. My BP is controlled by Valstartan and Metoprolol, which I've been advised I will probably be on for the rest of my life.  

    I think finding a cardiologist/vascular specialist who specializes in Aortic Aneursyms is VERY important. Cardiology is such a vast field of study, it's important that your physician is up to date on the latest research/treatments. I'm lucky enough to live in an major metropolitian area (Minneapolis) and have 3 hospitals within 80 miles of me that are among the best in the country at treating/reparing this condition (Mayo Clinic, University of Minnesota, Abbott Northwestern).

    Growth rate varies from person to person. Anything beyond 0.1 cm/year warrants greater scrutiny. I found out my diagnosis last winter and had the same feeling as you (ticking timebomb). While I still get occasional anxiety over this, I've learned to manage it much better. Even though this is a very serious condition, the "good" news for us is now that we know, it can be monitored and if needed surgically repaired. Most people who die from this disease do so because they have no idea they have it (I think Alan Thicke just died from an aortic dissection earlier this year).

    As far as things you can do:

    1. Find a good cardiologist/specialist and do what they say to the letter.

    2. Take your meds religiously, and check your BP regularly (2x/week) and let your doctor know if it starts to tick up.

    3. Don't lift anything heavy (estabilsh parameters for what "heavy" means with your physician).

    4. Keep stress level low (easier said than done!)

    Most importantly, take charge of your own health. Doctors are great, but they don't have all of the answers. And there are no magical pills. One of the things I've done is switch to a primarily plant based diet. I cut out all meat and eggs, and keep dairy intake to a minimum (still need my half&half with coffee in the morning lol). Doing this for a couple of months, I've lost some weight, my BP is right in the parameters my cardiologist wants (105/64) and most importantly I FEEL great! I also go for regular walks/bike rides/swim and meditate a couple of times/week to help keep my stress level down.

    Will this diet/exercise program heal my aneurysm?: No. But it helps me control the symptoms, so hopefully it never grows. And if it ever does come down to surgery, I will be more fit to endure the surgery/recovery.

    Good luck with everything, and try not to worry too much. Live your life! 

    • mide14661 mide14661

      PS: one other thing I forgot to mention...my cardiologist at the University of Minnesota (who specializes in TAA/AAA) indicated that the technology/surgical options for TAA repair are progressing rapidly. He predicts that within 10-15 years, most aneurysms will be able to be treated surgically through endovascular surgery where they go through your leg (as opposed to open heart surgery). This would be a much less risky procedure.

      So his treatment plan for me is to keep my symptoms/rate of aneurysm growth as slow as possible so that my body can "catch up" to the technology that's just around the corner.

      All the more reason to be proactive about what we can control! 

  • xtine xtine Mikey1720

    Hi Mikey. You don't have any evidence so far for rate of growth. It is an odd one. I was found to have a 4.9cm ascending 'swelling' a few months ago by echo - waiting for MRI no symptoms...and the consultants don't seem at all concernd taken months to get MRI....apparently mine has grown from 4 four years ago so I am worried. its like a sword of damocles -so be active on the testing I don't know where you are or what system of health care you have. I am in the UK. I have a very helpful GP who I have groomed. I see him once a month to track the testing and the consultants unti we get all the answers possible. eg Stanford say one of the few causes of ascending is syphilis. So I am having a blood test for that. Leave no stone unturned. (there is a variant of syphilis which has no symptoms, lies dormant until after 10-30 years can cause an aortic aneurysm) check it out.

  • xtine xtine Mikey1720

    and I have just read mide 14661's interesting acccount. I too don't eat meat - plant based diet - make my own sauerkraut get the healthiest microbiome you can - fermenting sauerkraut is loaded and delicious and so easy to make. (the stuff is jars is dead so don't bother) and I have two dogs so do a lot of walking in the countryside - this might not be possible for you but dogs are great taskmasters nothing esle would get you out there twice a day and their joy is infectious. I also monitor my blood presure every day and wear a fitbit. Just so I know what is going on and if I need to raise alarms I have eveidence. And its good to know thge good things. Also do mindfulness -di 8 week course - expensive but focussing till it became a habit. Things will get you through.

  • DebW DebW Mikey1720

    I'm from Canada, and am waiting for surgery. They like to do surgery when the aneurysm is 4.7 to 5.2 cm. I am beyond that.

    I'm also in my early 60's, and I just found out in March that I have the aneurysm, and a bicuspid valve. Still waiting for a date for surgery.

    Look for Cardiac Surgeons in your area. I was referred by a cardiologist to an excellent surgeon.

    In the meantime, I was advised no heavy lifting, exercise should be limited to a point before I am breathless. I understand Hottubs and spas are out of the question.

    Hope you have some answers already. The waiting is difficult.

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