How Do Doctors Diagnose and Treat an Enlarged Aorta?

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Doctors can diagnose an enlarged aorta through tests that include a chest X-ray, echocardiogram, computed tomography scan and a magnetic resonance angiogram, as stated by Mayo Clinic. If doctors feel a mass in the stomach region that they suspect to be an enlarged aorta during a physical exam, they can order these tests to confirm their suspicions. Treatment options for an enlarged aorta depend on the aneurysm size and location and can include monitoring, medications and surgery.

The aorta, which is the main blood artery in the body, can become enlarged if its walls become weakened. When this causes a bulge in the aortic wall, it can become an aortic aneurysm. This can lead to a separation in the aorta's wall layer, which is referred to a dissection, as noted by the University of Wisconsin. An aortic enlargement can cause a leakage of blood back into the heart that can lead to certain symptoms.

Some symptoms of an aortic aneurysm are coughing, pain in the back region and shortness of breath. An aortic aneurysm can happen in any location along the aorta, which is found between the heart and the abdomen. This includes the abdominal, descending and ascending aorta. The three possible types of aortic aneurysms are abdominal aortic, thoracic aortic and thoracoabdominal aneurysm.

The treatment options for a small aortic aneurysm may include simple monitoring. However, if a patient has hypertension of some type of blockage, a doctor will prescribe medications to address these underlying medical conditions. When a person has a thoracic aortic aneurysm and the aneurysm size is between 1.9 and 2.4 inches, a doctor may recommend surgery to avoid a rupture, according to Mayo Clinic.