publickman

CT scan for enlarged aorta

Lars
last month

My doctor has given me a referral for a CT scan of my aorta, which he says is slightly enlarged. He said it was 3.8 mm a year ago, but now it is 4.2 mm and should not be more than 4.0 mm. He also said that I might need to have a stint, but that it would be a minimally invasive procedure.

I tried to find out about this, but I could not get any helpful information, but I thought some of you might have some experience with this with people that you know.

What should I expect?

BTW, my grandfather died from an aortic aneurysm, but he was in his 80s and a lot older than I am now.

My doctor told me that if I start to feel any sharp pain in my chest that I should go to the emergency room immediately, as I might be having a stroke or something. At the moment, I feel no pain at all in my chest, except when I try to swallow large pills and they get stuck going down. I do have a fear of having hysterical pains that are imaginary, and I want to be able to tell the difference.

I'll call the hospital next week to schedule an appointment - the referral is good for a year, and so I don't feel an urgency at this point, but I do want to have the scan done in November.

Comments (94)

  • Kathsgrdn
    last month

    Hope you get your CT soon. Take care!

    Lars thanked Kathsgrdn
  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
    last month

    Good news, Lars. And hopefully at next week's appointment they go over all the surgery details with you. Can someone go with you, both for the driving and also for any note-taking? I always find an extra pair of ears and hands (for note-taking) is helpful.

    Lars thanked beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
  • jmm1837
    last month

    Good for you. I always wear fit-over type sunglasses when driving - I wear them over my regular glasses but can flip them to the top of my head when going through a tunnel.

    Lars thanked jmm1837
  • ravencajun Zone 8b TX
    last month

    Glad to hear you are getting it scheduled. Anything heart related is pretty important and time sensitive.

    I just returned home from the hospital having an echo done on my heart and arteries. With my heart condition, it is done quite regularly. Thankfully it is pain free. And the gel is very warm now lol.

    Good luck with your tests.

    Lars thanked ravencajun Zone 8b TX
  • Elizabeth
    last month

    Remember that, just to be through, doctors look for the worst case scenario first and then whittle it down to less serious things before making a final diagnosis.


    Lars thanked Elizabeth
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    My doctor is generally good at being very cautious, although he was slow to recognized that I had sleep apnea. I complained to him with the symptoms for over a year before he finally said I should have a sleep test. Other than that, I have not had any complaints about him.

    If I do need any surgery, they have very good doctors at the UCLA Hospital. It is now ranked #1 in California by US News & World Report. My brother goes to Cedars-Sinai, which is now #2 in California. UCSF used to be #1.

    Pablo gave me some instructions for the day of my scan and told me not to wear anything metal on my clothing, such as zippers or snaps but that sports bras were okay.

  • blfenton
    last month

    I am so glad you're getting it done and then you'll just have more information. Information is good to have. Depending on the issue there are lots of alternatives and that's what your doctor is for.

    Thinking of you with ((((hugs))). Let us know how it goes. And I second taking someone with you for any appts. They are another set of eyes, ears and questions that you may not consider.

    Lars thanked blfenton
  • mdln
    last month

    Good to hear you scheduled the CT.

    Normal measurements and symptoms often differ depending on the location; thoracic or abdominal. (Example: Abdominal aortic aneurysm may present with symptoms very similar to kidney stone.)

    Controlling risk factors including hypertension, smoking, diabetes is important.

    Lars thanked mdln
  • Yayagal
    last month

    Smart move Lars!!!! We all learned something from this thread, very very interesting. TY.

    Lars thanked Yayagal
  • Springroz
    last month

    Just now getting to read through....I am so happy to hear you got it all set up. Agree with Yayagal...lots of good information! Take care!!

    Lars thanked Springroz
  • hcbm
    last month

    Lars all these medical things are nerve wracking. Sending you good thoughts. Remember when you get worried or nervous take several deep, slow breaths and know you are doing all you can do. And never let anyone including medical staff make you feel that you are being using your words "hysterical". All pain and concern deserves to be taken seriously and attended to.

    Lars thanked hcbm
  • Ont_Gal
    last month

    Late Friday night-I'm sooo happy to hear that you've booked and have an appt coming quickly....It sounds like its all going to move smoothly for you, Lars...Good on you!!

    Lars thanked Ont_Gal
  • jemdandy
    last month

    From your description, I believe your biggest danger is a burst aorta. You do need to give that attention. Get it checked out without delay, It can be remedied by catching it soon enough.

    Lars thanked jemdandy
  • gsciencechick
    last month

    Nothing more to add; just sending support! Glad you scheduled so you can get more info.


    It's great to see how many people here have some sort of experience with this.

    Lars thanked gsciencechick
  • allison0704
    last month

    Glad you are being proactive. I know it's scary.


    My oldest BIL has been living with an aortic aneurysm for years now. I'm shocked it hasn't burst. Drs will not do surgery because he is so overweight. Now he is also pre-diabetic. Wouldn't doubt he has BP problems too. Just goes to show you never know.


    DH recently went to a cardiologist for the first time. Had an ultrasound and was told he has 10% blockage. About right for his age, so just going to watch. No symptoms. His BP and heart rate have always been extremely good due to exercising daily. But getting older and now having Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disease has wrecked havoc on his body, so walking and treading water is about all he can do now. He has gained the CV-19(lbs) recently.


    His cardiologist visit has made me think about making an appointment. Can't hurt, and might help.

    Lars thanked allison0704
  • nicole___
    last month

    No info. Wishing you the best outcome Lars. ♥

    Lars thanked nicole___
  • Uptown Gal
    last month

    Just checking and I am also so glad you have booked. All my best..please

    let us know how things are going. Hugs.

    Lars thanked Uptown Gal
  • jill302
    last month

    Lars, Sending positive thoughts your way.

    Lars thanked jill302
  • marilyn_c
    last month

    Good thoughts from me also, Lars.

    Lars thanked marilyn_c
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month

    One of the questions they asked me was whether I was diabetic, and I said no. They also asked me whether I was still taking Metformin, and I said no to that also, as I am no long pre-diabetic, after losing some weight.

    I guess it is very important to keep weight down, for many reasons, but I have gained a bit of weight back during the pandemic, as my exercise routine was interrupted for a while, but I am getting it back on track. I don't really have much in the way of exercise equipment in Cathedral City, but I did recently get some water weights to use in the pool, as recommended by my doctor. We have bikes there but cannot ride them when it is over 100°, and it was 120° for several days in August when we were there. The pool was 93° at times, which was also too warm to inspire much exercising.

    I have a good elliptical machine in L.A., which is easy for me to use. I need to get Kevin to use it also.

  • C Marlin
    last month

    You are in good hands at UCLA, been there many times. Do you have a silver Sneakers membership? You may have more exercise choices with that. Most of weight loss is eating, not expercise. That said, exercise is important, keep that diabetes at bay!.

    Lars thanked C Marlin
  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!
    last month

    I am glad you have a great plan in place, Lars. I am sure this is a bit anxiety provoking. Soon you will have this behind you.

    As for exercise and weight, there are so many reasons to stay fit. Excess weight and lack of fitness take a toll on every single aspect of your health and well being, both physical and mental.

    Lars thanked Zalco/bring back Sophie!
  • sjerin
    last month

    I wish you well and an easy procedure, Lars. I'm glad you got some helpful information here.

    Lars thanked sjerin
  • martinca_gw sunset zone 24
    last month

    Just came upon this, Lars. Don’t you just love all your pushy friends on here 😁♥️ Not that you wouldn’t have been proactive on your own. Still, helps to hear of other‘s experiences and to hear how noninvasive it can be. When my DH needed surgery for cancer, the top surgeon for his was at UCLA. Excellent experience. A bit OT, but though it’s early days, I’m thinking that the ADF ( alternate day fast) will prove to be the easiest healthy diet ever.

    We will all be here cheering for you.

    marti

    Lars thanked martinca_gw sunset zone 24
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month

    I've had very good experiences at UCLA with the exception of one nurse there who was very pushy and tried to get me to sign a release form without reading it. She said, "I told you everything that is in it," but I told her that the form I was signing said at the bottom that I had read the entire document, which I had not and that I would not sign something that was not true. Then she stormed out of my room so that I could read the document. While reading it, I found several statements that were untrue, like "all of my questions have been answered to me to my complete satisfaction," and so I marked through that one and several others. This really set the nurse off, and she got someone else to talk to me and answer my questions. After that, I signed it. The nurse was upset because she had to print a new document for me to sign. Evidently, marking through statements was not allowed.

    My friend Jimmy does an alternate day fast, and so I will look into that further.

    Thanks!

  • DLM2000-GW
    last month

    Information is power and key to understanding what the next step should be so I'm glad you are getting the CT.

    Lars thanked DLM2000-GW
  • glenda_al
    last month

    I wish you well

    Lars thanked glenda_al
  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    last month

    My information below comes from caring for these patients in intensive care, but may be a bit out of date since my last couple of years were in the medical ICU only. The Cleveland Clinic has information written for laypeople about aortic aneurysms and their treatment on their website, which I would like to recommend to you.


    Aortic aneurysms are usually watched until they get to a certain dangerous size, or start to dissect (tear or leak). Many aortic enlargements never reach that point due to good management of blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and so forth. Hopefully this will be so for you, Lars!


    Dissection can be of either of 2 different types, and also could be located in either the chest or abdomen. One type of dissection is most often managed medically (with medication, diet, weight loss etc) and watched carefully. The other type usually requires some repair - in the past they could only be repaired with a replacement graft and was very major surgery. A few still require this.

    But then, the endovascular stent graft was developed (think of it as adding a strengthening liner to the aorta), which is "minimally invasive" - just a puncture in the femoral artery. This was first used only in abdominal aortic aneurysms, and seems to be the standard repair now; patients typically tolerate the procedure very well with no complications. It has now been developed to be used also in thoracic (chest) aorta repairs.

    If you should need intervention your MD or his assistant will explain the procedure to you in terms you can understand - if not, ask until it is clear.


    Lars thanked raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
  • Lars
    Original Author
    last month

    As you can probably tell, I am not shy about asking questions until I understand what is going on.

    I am currently managing my blood pressure and cholesterol with medications, and my blood sugar is under control with diet, although I tend to be hypoglycemic and take chromium supplements for that.

  • lizzie_grow
    last month

    You've got this, Lars...you will have necessary info after the scan & hopefully then you will know direction to take! Keep us posted...!

    Lars thanked lizzie_grow
  • allison0704
    last month

    My friend Jimmy does an alternate day fast, and so I will look into that further.


    A few months ago I started eating differently - started ordering Hello Fresh meals. Started out ordering 4 a week, we are doing 6 now. We haven't gotten takeout since. I have two cups of hot chai early, then large bowl of mixed cereals/granola mid-morning. Lunner (as we call it) around 2pm. I am not hungry the rest of the day. I've lost 12.5lbs. I know I'm eating better and trying new things. I don't even want to snack, but I do get a couple of cookies at Whole Foods every week.


    No way I could do the every other day fasting.

    Lars thanked allison0704
  • nutsaboutplants
    last month

    Don’t have any relevant info to share, but join others in encouraging you to get it done. Sending healing vibes your way.

    Lars thanked nutsaboutplants
  • gsciencechick
    29 days ago

    Lars (and others), you might want to look into something like a TRX system for resistance training. You can take it with you and use it between your two houses or if we ever resume business travel again. I use mine outside on the deck through the French doors, but it can be used outdoors on trees, etc. There is a little bit of a learning curve with it, but once you get the hang of changing the length, it's easy to use for different exercises. Cost is about $150. Lots of videos on YouTube and Instagram, showing all ages and abilities.


    You could also do yoga and get a mat and some blocks and straps.






    Lars thanked gsciencechick
  • salonva
    29 days ago

    Just posting to add my good wishes to you Lars.

    Lars thanked salonva
  • Lars
    Original Author
    29 days ago

    gsciencechick, that looks interesting, and I will look into that. I noticed that Amazon sells the kit for $130. I put that link there so that I can use it later. I do already have a yoga mat in L.A., and I was planning to get one for Cathedral City - I should have done that already. I was going to use it in the office, but Kevin is now using that room for work, and so that is out. I think it would fit in my bedroom, however, as it is fairly large. We have a lot of open space in the living room there as well, plus the patio, but that would be usable only in cooler weather.

  • eandhl2
    29 days ago

    Lars, please don't do anything that will stress the aorta until you have the scan.

    Lars thanked eandhl2
  • gsciencechick
    29 days ago
    last modified: 29 days ago

    Yes, good point. Do check with your doctor first if this is something you can use pending the results of the scan.

    Lars thanked gsciencechick
  • lgmd_gaz
    29 days ago
    last modified: 29 days ago

    Lars, I am so glad to see that you are taking this seriously. A close friend of mine has an aortic aneurysm. In her family it is an inherited issue. She and 4 of her 7 siblings have been diagnosed. They are all being watched for any signs of progression. I am sure you are in good hands at UCLA. My best wishes for the very best outcome for you.

    Lars thanked lgmd_gaz
  • maifleur03
    29 days ago

    Lars with your mention of hypoglycemia talk to your doctor about alternate day fasting. A lot will depend on what type of alternate day fasting you chose but sending your sugar levels too low can be really bad especially late at night when your brother is asleep although you may not wake up enough to even call him. Older diabetic friends are told to eat cookies with real sugar between 2 to immediately before going to bed to help prevent this. Someone in the group almost lost her husband this way. She woke because she heard an odd noise and tried to wake him to check it out.

    Lars thanked maifleur03
  • Sandplum1-Bring Sophie back!!!
    29 days ago

    Glad you are scheduled, Lars. Sending positive thoughts your way!

    Lars thanked Sandplum1-Bring Sophie back!!!
  • sprtphntc7a
    29 days ago

    adding my good wishes :)

    Lars thanked sprtphntc7a
  • petalique
    28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago

    Lars, I also want t wish you the best test results and outcome. It’s wise that, with all the good support here, you’ve already set things in motion. The scan will give your doctors and you important information on which to base the next steps. I bet you’re feeling more comfortable now with the feedback and setting up the appointment. Best wishes to Kevin as well.

    Lars thanked petalique
  • pudgeder
    28 days ago

    Glad you are moving forward!!

    Lars thanked pudgeder
  • just_terrilynn
    28 days ago
    last modified: 28 days ago

    Hi Lars, getting older bites but it beats the alternative. I’m glad you are in the process of staying on top of things. It’s really amazing what can be done these days. My husband is partially bionic now and feels better than he has in years. However, he was close to a worse case scenario .

    When you get exercise approved, check on Thermeau for your pool, some of their models cools or heats. It’s a great way to burn calories. For safety you say you have some pool flotation exercise equipment to use.

    Anyway, I know this is distressful but you’ve got this!

    Lars thanked just_terrilynn
  • Ocotillo
    28 days ago

    Hope all goes perfectly, Lars.

    Lars thanked Ocotillo
  • Arapaho-Rd
    27 days ago

    Sending good wishes to you Lars.

    Lars thanked Arapaho-Rd
  • Lars
    Original Author
    27 days ago

    Justerrilynn, we have a gas heater for our pool, and it is part of the updated pool equipment that we got when we resurfaced the pool last year. I'm not sure how Thermeau works, but it looks like it is electric, which I think would cost a lot more than heating with gas would. Our electric bill is already high enough - $400 in September for cooling the house in August, when it was 120°. I'm not sure if the $400 was for one month or two, however. We get our gas bill once every two months, and it does not come close to the electric bill for heating the pool compared to cooling the house. I'll have to see what it costs this winter, as we will be there more this winter than we were last winter.

  • just_terrilynn
    27 days ago

    Lars, mine is electric but it’s an economical heat pump that uses the air. It’s perfect for my situation as I have a screened pool with big Areca palms on the ends. When I had open non shaded pools in the past they would actually get too hot in the summer. Although I don’t need my pool to be cooled, I didn’t find out until reading up on my pool heat pump brand that there were models with the cooling option. I never knew cooling a pool could be a thing.

    Anyway, back to YOU! Please keep us updated.

    Lars thanked just_terrilynn
  • Rusty
    26 days ago

    Lars, there is nothing I can add here that hasn't already been said. I, too, am thinking about you, and sending up a prayer or two for you, that your procedure tomorrow will go well.

    Rusty

    Lars thanked Rusty