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Dr. Chip
Dr. Chip, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 26763
Experience:  Over 20 yrs of Family Practice
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My husband who is 63 tall was diagnosed with a dilated aortic

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My husband who is 6'3 tall was diagnosed with a dilated aortic root at 4.5cm. His doc says it may be normal for him as he is a tall man and it may be that he just has a large aorta like some have big feet and that they would recheck it in 6 months to make sure it is not getting worse. This approach seems passive to me, should we take him for a second opinion? Also, last year his sister died suddenly of dialated cardio myopathy for unknown reasons i.e. no infection or drug abuse involved. Are these two conditions related?
How was the diagnosis made and were there any other abnormalities in the heart or its valves?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, the heart looked completely normal except the aortic root was dilated to 4.5. He has no symptoms. He is 47. His sister who died of dialated cardio myopathy last year at 52 had no symptoms. She was a cardiac care nurse for 20 years yet had no idea she had a heart problem.


 

Just one more question--was this an echocardiogram and why was the test run?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes it was a echocardiogram, we asked the Doctor to do an Echo for the sole purpose of determining whether or not he had any heart issues like his Sister.

OK. Any dilatation of the aortic root is considered abnormal and not just from his size. He needs a cardiology consultation and this needs follow up over the next few years to see if it's expanding at all. Treatment at first is conservative with beta blocker medication and lifestyle changes--weight loss, no smoking, etc. Here's a link for you with more information.

http://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Patients/Programs-and-Services/Heart-Institute/Conditions/Aortic-Disease.aspx

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Is the condition Dilated Cardio Myopathy related to Dialated Aortic Root ? Both my husband and his Sister were non-smokers, weight appropriate, and have/had no high blood pressure issues. Is it congenital? We just had our first child. Thank you

No--not the same but DCM could lead to a dilated aortic root. If the rest of the echo were normal, he doesn't have a cardiomyopathy.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Are these conditions congenital? Should I have our two year old son evaluated by a cardiologist?

No--not congenital and there's no need for a cardiologist for your son.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you Sir, he was diagnosed with this two months ago after he had a preventative echo cardiogram done due his sister's sudden death last year at 52, my husband is 47. He was told his heart looked completely normal except the dilated aortic root at 4.5 cm, no signs of any myopathy at this time, no other family history except his sister, we are concerned because she was a cardiac care nurse for 20 years and would have been alerted to the symptoms if she had any, unfortunately she had no symptoms prior to her sudden death
And what were the circumstances of her death?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Coroner said she died suddenly while sitting in her chair. Autopsy report reflects her death was caused by dilated cardio myopathy not related to drugs, alcohol, or infection. Basically they dont know the cause of the myopathy. She however, did have a problem with her thyroid that she was being treated for, however the coroner did not mention that as a possible cause.
So before that she had had no symptoms relative to a cardiac condition and no, say chest x-ray for any reason?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

No, we noticed she had a lot of anxiety, but she was always high strung, so that was not unusual. Two years prior to her death she was in a major car accident due to her suddenly passing out while driving. The cause of her black out was never determined. At that time she had chest xrays but nothing abnormal was mentioned. At the time of her death her heart size was 450 grams? She was 5'9

So she was basically fine and then suddenly died?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

According to her docs she was fine, she was regulary under a doctors care for the past two years becuase she had to have surgery on her ankle and hip due to the car accident. She had surgery on her ankle 6 weeks prior to her death and died while she was recooperating at home. She was taking thyroid medication and medication for pain and anxiety, but the coronor said neither had anything to do with her death. There was no sign of blood clots or anything like that. Could it be that they cant tell what really happend because she was dead almost five days before they found her?

Well, cardiomyopathy is a gradual disorder that eventually announces itself with chest pain and perhaps congestive heart failure, but it doesn't usually cause sudden death. I think it would be very difficult to tell the exact cause of death after five days. This may have been an arrhythmia problem unrelated to the myopathy. Whatever the case, this wouldn't be related to your husband and it sounds as though he doesn't have a cardiomyopathy problem, but he does need to see a cardiologist for the aortic root problem and his heart can be more extensively studied then.