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What is a sclerotic, atheromatous aorta?

My father had an x-ray of his chest, PA view. Aorta is sclerotic. Impression: atheromatous aorta. Could you please explain this to me?

submitted by Lien from Islip Terrace, New York on 8/31/2012


by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Benjamin Cheong, MD    Benjamin Y. Cheong, MD, FACC, FRCP

Atherosclerosis, in general terms, means "hardening" of the arteries (blood supply to the human body).  It occurs with aging and is due to the layering /deposition of substances like cholesterol and fat onto the surface of the arteries. In a later stage, there could also be calcium formed on the artery surface. In part, the process is due to genetics, and in part, this could also be due to diet (especially in Western society). 

This could be seen on the chest x-ray, as the aortic contour (the big vessel supplying blood out of the heart) could appear "lumpy bumpy" to the interpreting radiologist. This is usually of no great concern, nevertheless, this may serve a good opportunity for a visit to the primary care physician for a check-up, with attention to blood pressure level; cholesterol level; and dietary and exercise review to see if there is any room for modification and improvement. Best wishes.        

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Updated September 2012
Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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