I had an echocardiogram done in August, because I was having chest tightness and pains in my upper chest. They notified me that the results were normal, although I do not know the specific numbers. Subsequently, a cardiologist evaluated the results and again said they were normal. My question is, can an echocardiogram detect any problems with the aorta? Should I ask for a ct-scan just to be sure? Can an echo also show the ascending aorta and arch?
The echo is decent for assessing the proximal ascending aorta. The distal ascending aorta and the arch are very poorly visualized on echocardiography and typically need a different modality for thorough evaluation, CT being one of them. Depending on the degree of suspicion for a thoracic aneurysm (the risk is probably low in you) one usually starts with a simple chest Xray for those who have low likelihood or goes straight to a chest CT in those who have intermediate or high risk.
Thanks for responding! I am suspicious of having Marfan's though I dont fit all criteria and have never had any serious heart issues. I have had two chest x-rays this summer also, and both came back normal. Can they detect any abnormalities or swelling of the ascending aorta/arch?
The xrays won't but as I mentioned earlier the proximal aortic root is well seen on echo. The only way to see the arch well is either with a CT or an MRI. Some cardiologist also do transesophageal echos for that as well, but that's a more invasive procedure and not as good as the other imaging modalities.
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