Background Thickening of the aortic wall, probably the earliest computed tomography (CT)-seen sign of aortitis, is frequently missed as there are no accepted criteria for normal aortic wall thickness (AWT). As aortitis can affect patients in a wide range of ages and with different co-morbidities, information on the normal values for AWT for various age groups, as well as for the presence of co-morbid background, may be essential.
Objectives The present study was conducted to assess the relationship of CT-measured AWT with patient-related and disease-related variables in a large cohort of patients without aortitis.
Methods CT scans of 250 consecutive patients without known aortitis, hospitalized at Bnai Zion Medical Center were reviewed and AWT manually measured at three levels: 1. thoracic descending aorta at the level of the bifurcation of the pulmonary artery; 2. abdominal aorta at the level of celiac artery origin; 3. abdominal aorta one slice below the level of the origin of renal arteries. Patients' charts were analyzed and demographic data and data on co-morbidities extracted. Correlations with measured AWT were calculated.
Results By multivariate regression analysis, AWT had significant positive correlation with patient age (p<0.000), gender (p<0.03) and the presence of calcifications of the aortic wall (p<0.000). Arterial hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease and diabetes mellitus, when present, affected AWT upon univariate analysis only, with correlation lost upon applying multivariate regression. The calculated age-dependent reference values of CT-measured AWT in patients without aortitis are presented in Table 1.
Conclusions The “normal” range of AWT varies with age, gender and may also vary with co-morbidities. The data presented may serve as a reference and should be considered in the interpretation of the CT-appearance of the aortic wall when assessing for aortitis.
Disclosure of Interest None declared