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Vascular Surgery

Unusual x-ray finding

03/02/2004

Question:

The report on x-rays of my spine also said "Extensive atherosclerotic calcification of the abdominal aorta is noted incidentally. Is this condition serious? Should there be treatment and how is this treated,if need be? Would a specialist be involved and if so,what kind of specialist? I appreciate any information.

Answer:

Extensive atherosclerosis is the medical terminology used to describe `hardening of the arteries`. This is the build up of plaque and cholesterol which can become calcified and thus show up on an X-ray, much like a bone would. This often takes years to develop. If you are a smoker, you should stop immediately. If you have not had your cholesterol checked, you should do so and keep the level under 200. Your blood pressure should be kept under 140/80. Your primary care doctor can help assist with all of these things. If you start to develop pain in your legs when walking, which is then relieved by rest, you should be referred to a vascular surgeon. Best of luck!

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Response by:

Amy B Reed, MD Amy B Reed, MD
No longer associated