I have been diagnosed with a 4.2cm Abdominal Aorta Aneurysm. My doctor said I need to have an ultrasound done annually to monitor for any enlargement. He said no operation until it reaches at least 5cm. Is there anything (pain, etc.) that I should watch for? The Radiologist thought there was leaking of blood from the aneurysm, but my doctor thought NO.

After getting another ultrasound in three months, my doctor said there is no blood leaking. How can I be sure this is true? Are there any signs? The doctor said I would have severe pain in my stomach going down my leg. I do not have this, but it is worrisome because any time I have any abdominal cramps or leg problems I suspect the worse! I was told that you could also have back pain.

I am 70 years old, an active tennis player and work out with weights three times a week. I'm very active, but I do have a new hip and arthritis. Again, do I need to do anything special or eliminate any activities?


You may want to see a vascular surgeon specialist for a second opinion. There are newer, less invasive stent graphing that can be done for some aneurysms.

Is there anything (pain, etc.) that I should watch for?

A ruptured aortic aneurysm is a life threatening event and prevention is much better than waiting for symptoms of abdominal, back or limb pain. You will need periodic evaluations and regular medical care.

How can I be sure this is true? Are there any signs?

You have an asymptomatic aneurysm that is technically classified as a “small aneurysm.” In fact, most women aged 70 years or older will have some dilation of their abdominal aorta as a part of aging. The ultrasound quality depends on several factors including the patient’s body habitus, the technician’s skill, as well as the interpretation from the radiologist. It is reassuring that your follow-up ultrasound did not show any blood leaking. However, you are always entitled to a second opinion, particularly one from a vascular surgeon.

I’m very active but I do have new hip and arthritis. Again, do I need to do anything special or eliminate any activities?

Staying physically active has many advantages. Moderate physical activity such as tennis, swimming, hiking or brisk walking do NOT cause aortic rupture. You should, however, avoid heavy lifting as that can lead to increases in your blood pressure. For example, you should not be squatting or performing deadlifts with heavy weights and you should check in with your physician before embarking on any new physical program.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women's Health Nurse

August 28, 2014 at 11:26am