AIMS: The role of atherosclerosis in the pathogenesis of aortic enlargement is uncertain. We aimed to evaluate the relationship between the diameters of the ascending, descending and abdominal aorta, and coronary artery calcification.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Individuals in the Copenhagen General Population Study underwent thoracic and abdominal computed tomography. Maximal aortic diameters were measured in each aortic segment and coronary artery calcium scores (CACS) were calculated. Participants were stratified into five predefined groups according to CACSs and compared to aortic dimensions. The relation between aortic diameter and CACS was adjusted for risk factors for aortic dilatation in a multivariable model. A total of 2678 eligible individuals were included. In all segments of the aorta, aortic diameter was associated to CACSs, with mean increases in aortic diameters ranging from 0.7 to 3.5 mm in individuals with calcified coronary arteries compared to non-calcified subjects (P-value < 0.001). After correction for risk factors, individuals with CACS above 400 had larger ascending, descending and abdominal aortic diameter than the non-calcified reference group (P-value < 0.01).
CONCLUSION: Enlarged thoracic and abdominal aortic vascular segments are associated with co-existing coronary artery calcification in the general population.