Although aneurysms can be detected by physical examination, most are diagnosed today using ultrasound scans, CAT scans and MRIs, simple exams that are non-invasive and can be done as an outpatient. These exams can tell us whether an aneurysm is present and how big it is - the key elements to determine the need for treatment.
These techniques use sophisticated imaging tools to eliminate risks and discomforts of injections or invasive procedures.
A chest X-ray and chest CT scan demonstrate enlargement of the aorta. A chest
CT scan identifies the diameter of the aorta and the exact location of the aneurysm.
An aortogram (a special set of X-ray images made during injection of dye into the aorta) may also identify the location and extent of the aneurysm and identify any branch arteries of the aorta that are also involved.
How can thoracic aortic aneurysms be prevented?
Prevention measures, in general, include not smoking, controlling blood pressure and blood lipid levels, and exercising daily.