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Vascular Surgery

Abdominal aorta measurements

11/04/2008

Question:

I am a 60 year old female, never smoked, not overweight and my blood pressure is 120/80. My HDL is 79 and LDL/HDL ratio is 1.3 Five years ago my internist sent me for an abdominal aorta ultrasound because of a pulsatile mass. The results were: Proximal aorta : 1.6 x 2.8 x 2.4 cm Mid : 1.6 x 1.95 x 1.8 cm Distal : 1.5 x 2 x 1.8 cm The IMPRESSION was mild ectasia of proximal aorta not meeting criteria for abdominal aaortic anuerysm. No significant thrombus noted. I had to switch internists and the new doctor again was concerned five years later after feeling the same strong pulsing and sent me for another ultrasound. The current results at a different hospital were: Suprarenal aorta: 20 x 1.92 cm Mid : 1.90 X 1.80 cm Distal : 1.90 X 1.6 cm Atherosclerotic plaque is seen throughout the aorta. The IMPRESSION was mild ectasia and atherosclerotic change. No aneurysmal dilation noted. What dimensions are they mesuring? I know the diameter is important so really would like to know what these numbers are referring to. The first scan gave 3 for each aortic section and the second gave only 2 dimesions(?). Also what does the 20cm for suprarenal aorta refer to? Is the suprarenal aorta the same as the proximal aorta mesured in the first scan? Do not want them to miss the proximal section since that seemed to be the larger section five years ago. The doctor`s office has only told me there is no anuerysm but I would like to understand the results. Is the plaque significant? Thanks for your help.

Answer:

Aortic aneurysms are defined as a diameter measurement of 3cm so it appears by what you have listed in your inquiry that your aorta is not aneurysmal. One diameter measurement is what vascular surgeons use, but radiologists like to provide all sorts of different measurements thus the multiple numbers. Good luck!

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Response by:

Amy B Reed, MD Amy B Reed, MD
No longer associated