Should blood relatives get CT scans if family member has or dies of aneurysm?

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 I am 63, always looked at myself as being as fit as most 25 years olds, and just got home from a 4 mile run.  I walked in the house and started getting this strange back pain.  I went to the shower and ran hot water on it.  When I got out, I lay on the floor and asked my wife to massage my back.   I could not get off the floor. The pain was excruciating at this point.  I avoided doctors like the plague all my life, but I knew something was really wrong.  I told my wife to call ambulance.  I had them to take me to one of the largest hospitals in the area.  The clock was ticking.  After laying in ER for a while, my wife alerted one of the doctors that aneurysm run in my family- my grandma died at age 50, my father and brother had them too.  The doctor recognized I had the symptoms and luckily there were experienced expert doctors there.  Within 2 hours from the initial back pain I was receiving blood to keep me alive.  They came up the groin area and stented the ruptured aorta.  Point is, if you have a immediate relative who has had aneurysm or especially if they died from it, from what I am reading, you should probably start getting CT scans by age 50.  AAA aneurysm are a lot easier to fix before they rupture.  If they rupture, I think the survival rate is 10% or less because you are bleeding to death and you are on the clock.  What if I was on a train or plane or cruise, in a foreign country, or got misdiagnosed with kidney stones.  Fortunately,  I was within 20 minutes of a hospital that deals with heart issues.    

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  • Posted

    There is now a National Screening programme for men, I think over 55. Prior to then  I was about 68 when my one was found when I had a scan for gall stones.

    Anyone with a family trait of that or other dieases should make their doctors aware.

    An ex policeman I know said that most middle aged/ elderly mens sudden deaths were caused by anuerysms.  

    Colon cancer runs through the female line on both sides of my family.

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  • Posted

    Hello James. I was interested in your experience of aortic aneurysm and very pleased that you are now well. Like you I have always felt fit. Always been small, never smoked or over indulged in alcohol. However I have always been aware of heart disease in my maternal family, my grandmother dying in her chair suddenly at 59 and my uncle suddenly dying at 58. Also lots of early heart related deaths further back but recorded as coronary thrombosis etc. So, when I was told that I had an aortic root aneurysm I was scared. I read everything I could about it and only succeeded in me being even more frightened! As you say at the end of your post, you were very fortunate to be in the right place when you suffered your rupture and that is my fear really, that I will not be in the right place or with loved ones. Hopefully it won't happen though and at least it is being monitored. My son has been tested and is okay but my two daughters haven't yet. I hope all goes well for you.
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    • Posted

      Hi Marlborough, the good thing is that you know about your aortic root aneurysm and it is being monitored.  I searched the internet about it and found this: "Current guidelines recommend surgical treatment when the diameter of the aneurysm exceeds 50 mm. In patients with family history of aortic dissection or with Loyes-Dietz syndrome (a more severe form of Marfan syndrome), surgery should be considered when they are even smaller. Composite replacement of the aortic valve and ascending aorta used to be the standard treatment for patients with aortic root aneurysms. During the past 2 decades, a conservative procedure whereby the aneurysm is replaced with Dacron graft and the aortic valve is preserved has gained widespread use, and the results have been excellent in experienced hands.".  50mm is about 2 inches.  My aneurysm was about 3 inches when it ruptured.  I believe my procedure was the latter and less invasive.  Even though I had a rough time initially - I was in intensive care for 9 days and 12 days total in the hospital - I have recovered very fast.  Right now, I am two months out from my ruptured aneurysm and I am walking 3 miles a day and running a little.  I am very happy with my recovery.  I would ask the medical people in your area what the survival rate of a dacron graph in the aortic root section.  I would suspect it is pretty high.  I think that if you fitness level is pretty good at the time of the operation, it increases the chances of suceess.
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  • Posted

    Hi James, Thanks for your reply. The cardiologist told me that if and when the time comes when I need a graft, it will be open surgery. The distended part of the aorta would be cut out and a dacron graft inserted. He said that straight segments of the aorta could more easily be repaired. Although I would like to think that mine was repaired, I really do not fancy the surgery, and wonder if I would recover well from it. As a nurse for most of my life, I know how badly surgery can affect more elderly people and I would be older than I am now! I hope it doesn't ever come to it. However reading of your experience of surgery has cheered me up. Best wishes.
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    • Posted

      When I was being turned down for travel insurance because of my small anuerysm the girl in the call centre said that her grand mother had and survived the surgery at 89 and was now 93.  
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    • Posted

      An American friend who is 86 had a double bypass and his aortic valve replaced last week.

      His comment afterwards to his worried family was "It was a big nothing"

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