AIMS: Accurate assessment of aortic dimensions can be achieved using contrast-enhanced computed tomography. The aim of this study was to define normal values and determinants of aortic dimensions throughout multiple key anatomical landmarks of the aorta in healthy individuals from the Copenhagen General Population Study.
METHODS AND RESULTS: The study group consisted of 902 healthy subjects selected from 3000 adults undergoing cardiovascular thoracic and abdominal computed tomography-angiography (CTA), where systematic measurements of aortic dimensions were performed retrospectively. Individuals included were without any of the following predefined cardiovascular risk factors: (i) self-reported angina pectoris; (ii) hypertension; (iii) hypercholesterolaemia; (iv) taking cardiovascular prescribed medication including diuretics, statins, or aspirin; (v) overweight (defined as body mass index ≥30 kg/m2); (vi) diabetes mellitus (self-reported or blood glucose >8 mmol/L); and (vii) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Maximal aortic diameters were measured at seven aortic regions: sinuses of Valsalva, sinotubular junction, ascending aorta, mid-descending aorta, abdominal aorta at the diaphragm, abdominal aorta at the coeliac trunk, and infrarenal abdominal aorta. Median age was 52 years, and 396 (40%) were men. Men had significantly larger aortic diameters at all levels compared with women (P < 0.001). Multivariable analysis revealed that sex, age, and body surface area were associated with increasing aortic dimensions.
CONCLUSION: Normal values of maximal aortic dimensions at key aortic anatomical locations by contrast-enhanced CTA have been defined. Age, sex, and body surface area were significantly associated with these measures at all levels of aorta. Aortic dimensions follow an almost identical pattern throughout the vessel regardless of sex.
- aortic dimensions
- aortic morphology
- computed tomography angiography
- normal variants
- reference range