How is a thoracic aortic aneurysm diagnosed?

Early diagnosis of a thoracic aneurysm is critical to managing the condition. The larger the thoracic aortic aneurysm, or the faster it grows, the more likely it is to rupture. The risk of rupture increases when the aneurysm is larger than about twice the normal diameter of a healthy aorta blood vessel.

Diagnosing a thoracic aneurysm is difficult because often there are no symptoms, and often the condition goes undiagnosed until a rupture occurs. If a thoracic aortic aneurysm is suspected, your physician may order the following tests:

  • Chest x-ray
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Echocardiography (an ultrasound of the heart)
  • Abdominal ultrasound (to look for associated abdominal aneurysms)
  • Angiography (an x-ray of the blood vessels)
  • Learn more about these diagnostic tests and procedures

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