Episode #46 of the Charged podcast
Your Thoracic Aortic Center doctor will determine the most appropriate imaging study to document the location of your aneurysm and allow us to measure its size accurately.
Sometimes more than one type of imaging study is needed in order to fully reveal the aortic anatomy. The following are brief descriptions of each of the imaging techniques that might be used:
- CT scans (computed tomography) - produce excellent images of the aorta. For patients with complex aortic anatomy, our computers create a 3-dimensional CT scan image of the entire aorta, which we can then view from all angles. This makes it easier to accurately measure the size of aneurysms and to plan surgery when it is needed.
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) - produces images of the aorta from different angles, though the images are not always as sharp as those produced by CT scanning. MRI is often used as an alternative to CT scanning when patients have kidney failure or an allergy to the IV dye (contrast material) needed for CT scanning.
- MRA (magnetic resonance angiography) - a fancier type of MRI that uses a special non-toxic type of dye (contrast material) called gadolinium, which is safe for the kidneys. MRA is used when we need to examine the branch vessels that come off the aorta, and MRA can also produce 3-dimensional images of the aorta.
- Contrast angiography - a more traditional and invasive procedure, is performed only in selected cases, and usually only for a pre-operative evaluation in patients with unusually complex aortic anatomy.
- Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) - a special type of ultrasound that uses sound waves to image the aorta. However, instead of sending sound waves into the body from the surface of the skin, this procedure sends the sound waves from a thin plastic tube inserted into the patient’s esophagus or swallowing tube. This is especially effective because the esophagus lies right next to the aorta, so the TEE ultrasound images of the aorta are typically very clear.
- Staff Story
- Sep | 11 | 2020
Emily Lau, MD, is a member of the class of 2021 in the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Lau shares what drew her to Mass General, the culture of the program and her experience as a trainee during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Press Release
- Aug | 25 | 2020
Massachusetts General Hospital first in New England to perform new procedures for tricuspid valve disease
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) is announcing two first-of-their-kind procedures in New England today, to treat one of the most common forms of heart valve disease.
- Press Release
- Aug | 19 | 2020
Clinical and sociodemographic features of early COVID-19 patients in Massachusetts: MGH study suggests vulnerable populations are hardest hit
Data from the first COVID-19 patients treated at three large Massachusetts hospitals reveal important trends, including disproportionate representation of vulnerable populations, high rates of disease-related complications, and the need for post-discharge, post-acute care and monitoring.
- Jun | 23 | 2020
As the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, Massachusetts General Hospital leaders are discussing the transition to strategies for recovery and wellness.
- Press Release
- Jun | 2 | 2020
A team led by investigators at Mass General and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard recently found that applying “polygenic risk scores” can identify at-risk patients who are not presently identified through standard clinical evaluations.