RadInfo Logo Home

Suspected Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

Thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA) is an increase in size of the aorta, a large main artery leading away from the heart in the chest. Patients with a TAA do not usually have symptoms, but some experience chest or back pain.

When TAA is suspected, both CT angiography (CTA) and MR angiography (MRA) are appropriate to determine the size of the aorta and to assess other problems with the blood vessels in the chest. CTA always uses contrast; MRA is typically done with intravenous contrast but can also be done without contrast for people in whom contrast should not be used.

Several tests may be appropriate. These include a chest x-ray, which is often done in the urgent care setting. Chest CT without contrast can show the size of the blood vessels and any abnormal calcium deposits. It can also show that there is no aneurysm, but it does not give as much detail as a CTA.

Echocardiography is a specialized ultrasound test that can show parts of the thoracic aorta and may be appropriate when a TAA is suspected. The ultrasound probe can either be placed noninvasively on the chest (transthoracic) or be placed within the esophagus (transesophageal) on a specialized device to acquire the images.

This page was reviewed on December, 15, 2021

Sponsored By

Please note

RadiologyInfo.org is not a medical facility. Please contact your physician with specific medical questions or for a referral to a radiologist or other physician. To locate a medical imaging or radiation oncology provider in your community, you can search the ACR-accredited facilities database.

This website does not provide cost information. The costs for specific medical imaging tests, treatments and procedures may vary by geographic region. Discuss the fees associated with your prescribed procedure with your doctor, the medical facility staff and/or your insurance provider to get a better understanding of the possible charges you will incur.

Web page review process: This Web page is reviewed regularly by a physician with expertise in the medical area presented and is further reviewed by committees from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) and the American College of Radiology (ACR), comprising physicians with expertise in several radiologic areas.

Outside links: For the convenience of our users, RadiologyInfo.org provides links to relevant websites. RadiologyInfo.org, RSNA and ACR are not responsible for the content contained on the web pages found at these links.