Jonathan Rabkin, 53, went to a hospital emergency room complaining of the sudden onset of upper abdominal pain radiating to his back. The attending emergency room physician, Dr. Vikram Varma, ordered a chest x-ray and chest CT scan without contrast.
Radiologist Dr. Paul Shieh interpreted the CT scan as showing a 5.2 cm ascending thoracic aortic aneurysm. An aneurysm by definition is an excessive localized enlargement of an artery caused by a weakening of the artery wall. In too many patient cases, an aneurysm left unrecognized and untreated can be deadly.