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Shortness of breath, echo cardiogram done. Anything to worry?

I am just wanting to know more about ectatic ascending aorta. My husband is facing open heart surgery soon. Echocardiagram indicated leaking valve. Heart cath confirmed aortic regurgitation, non rheumatic: Moderately severe insufficiency, with ectatic ascending aorta. My husband is 63 years old and experiencing shortness of breath to the point that it is interfering with quality of life. Doctor says he has a strong heart. Could you explain the seriousness of this condition? Thank you.
Asked On : Fri, 18 Oct 2013
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Pain Medicine & Palliative Care Specialist 's  Response
An ectatic aorta is an enlarged or dilated aorta. This can be related to a leaking aortic valve. This, in turn , can result in breathlessness. If your doctor has indicated he has a strong heart, this would suggest that the heart muscle is functioning well despite the leaking valve.
Taking this into consideration and coupled with his reduced quality of life, it sounds appropriate that he should be offered heart surgery.
This is a major operation. However, with a strong heart, he is most likely to have a good result and will have a much better exercise tolerance following surgery. Without surgery, this condition is unlikely to improve significantly.
I wish him good health.
Dr K A Pottinger,
Answered: Fri, 18 Oct 2013
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