Quantitative determination of age-related geometric changes in the normal abdominal aorta.
PURPOSE: We conducted a novel quantitative three-dimensional analysis of computed tomography (CT) angiograms to establish the relationship between aortic geometry and age, sex, and body surface area in healthy subjects. METHODS: Abdominal helical CT angiograms from 77 healthy potential renal donors (33 men/44 women; mean age, 44 years; age range, 19-67 years) were selected. In each dataset, orthonormal cross-sectional area and diameter measurements were obtained at 1-mm intervals along the automatically calculated central axis of the abdominal aorta. The aorta was subdivided into six consecutive anatomic segments (supraceliac, supramesenteric, suprarenal, inter-renal, proximal infrarenal, and distal infrarenal). The interrelated effects of anatomic segment, age, sex, and body surface area on cross-sectional dimensions were analyzed with linear mixed-effects and varying-coefficient statistical models. RESULTS: We found that significant effects of sex and of body surface area on aortic diameters were similar at all anatomic levels. The effect of age, however, was interrelated with anatomic position, and gradually decreasing slopes of significant diameter-versus-age relationships along the aorta, which ranged from 0.14 mm/y (P <.0001) proximally to 0.03 mm/y (P =.013) distally in the abdominal aorta, were shown. CONCLUSION: The abdominal aorta undergoes considerable geometric changes when a patient is between 19 and 67 years of age, leading to an increase of aortic taper with time. The hemodynamic consequences of this geometric evolution for the development of aortic disease still need to be established.
Fleischmann, D; Hastie, TJ; Dannegger, FC; Paik, DS; Tillich, M; Zarins, CK; Rubin, GD
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