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Inflamed Aorta
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Inflamed Aorta


  My dad has been sick for three+ weeks.  It began with vomitting and diarreah (diarrhea) the first week.  He couldn't keep anything down or in. The doctor suggest a suppository.  My dad lost 19 pounds that first week.  The second week he felt weak.  During this time my mom did not take his temperature.  By the 13th day he was feeling bad, but no vomitting etc. but his temperature was 103.  It would go down with Tylenol but would return after the tylenol wore off.  This has gone on for 10 days and my dad still doesn't feel like eating.  He has had blood tests and urine tests done.  Last night they did a cat scan and found that he had an inflamed aorta.  I truly believe that he has had a form of food poisoning.  He is in the hospital but they can't seem to find anything wrong with him other than the temperature and now the inflamed aorta.  What does this mean, do you know?  Maybe, you can send some information to Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids because I wonder if they know what his problem is.  Thanks so much for your time!
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Avatar_n_tn


Dear BK, thank you for your question.  I'm not sure if the diarrheal illness with
fevers is related to the inflamed aorta seen on the CT scan, but I'll try to
elaborate to explain the topic more.  Aortitis (the medical term for an inflamed
aorta) occurs when inflammation occurs in the wall of the aorta in response to
an injury.  The injury may be caused by infection (syphilis, rheumatic fever,
or endocarditis - infection of the heart valves) or autoimmune disorders where
the body attacks its own tissues (rheumatoid arthritis).  An inflamed aorta usually
will dilate in response to the inflammation (this is called an aneurysm), but
dissection (tearing of the wall with blood flow directed down a false channel)
and aortic regurgitation (leaking aortic valve in response to the dilated aorta)
can also occur with aortitis.  The diagnosis of aortitis is made when the aorta
is noted to be dilated on a chest x-ray, a CT scan, a MRI scan, or on a
transesophageal echocardiogram.  Unless a patient has a dissection or aortic
regurgitation, there are usually few symptoms from a dilated aorta.  Presumably,
your father has not had symptoms related to those problems.  An autoimmune
disorder could be the cause of his diarrheal illness and fevers and the aorta
could be similarly affected by the same disease.  Also, it's quite possible
that he has food poisoning and was incidentally noted to have a dilated aorta
on the CT scan which, in no way, is related to the food poisoning.  Another
possibility is that his aorta is just dilated (chronic aortic dilation can be caused
by chronic hypertension) and is not inflamed.  This differentiation would be
hard to make on a CT scan alone.  Irrespective of the cause of aortic dilation,
close follow-up is needed since elective surgical repair of a dilated aorta is
recommended when the aortic diameter is larger than 5 cm.  I am not able to send
information to your father's physicians, but you can feel free to print my
response here.  I hope you find this information useful.
Information provided in the heart forum is for general purposes only.  Specific
diagnoses and therapies can only be provided by your physician.





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