Question:

Should I see a cardiologist to evaluate my aorta?

I had a CT Heart Calcium score done recently as was recommended by my doctor and the findings were of a slight left lobe atalectasis, which I have had no symptoms, and an ectatic ascending aorta measuring 4.2 cm. I am only 50 years old and very petite, CAD heavy in my family, and have had HTN for 10 years, recently very elevated in last year. My internal MD just increased my beta blocker and I am also on an Ace inhibitor. Should I see a cardiologist to evaluate the aorta with testing, e.g., MRI, TTE?

Submitted by Patricia from Dallas on 11/08/2014

Dear Patricia,
The enlarged ascending aorta that is ectatic warrants close follow up by a cardiologist, who will likely follow you annually with imaging – either a MRI or CT scan.

Your internist has placed you on an excellent medical regimen, including a beta blocker for your hypertension, which is the best option to prevent further dilatation of your aorta. With your family history and personal history of hypertension, it is imperative that you also address other potential risk factors aggressively. An internist or cardiologist can preform an advanced lipid profile, including genetic testing, to assist with medication and lifestyle recommendations (exercise, diet, stress management) to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Thank you for contacting Ask a Texas Heart Institute Heart Doctor..