Department of Internal Medicine A, Bnai Zion Medical Center, Technion, Haifa, Israel.
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To review the prevalence, mechanisms, presentations and clinical significance of aortic involvement in rheumatic inflammatory diseases.
The medical literature, available through a PUBMED search was reviewed and the relevant information was summarized. In addition, selected articles related to aortic involvement in rheumatic diseases were included in this review.
Rheumatic disorders may be categorized by their propensity to involve the aorta: conditions with a prevalence of 10% and more (Takayasu`s arteritis, temporal arteritis, long-standing ankylosing spondylitis, Cogan`s syndrome and relapsing polychondritis), disorders with uncommon but well documented aortic involvement and rheumatic conditions with rare case reports of such involvement. Clinical presentation of aortic disease is dependent on the part of aorta involved and may manifest by aortic pain and/or other symptoms caused by aortic dilatation, narrowing or aneurysm. The histopathology of inflammatory aortitis is characterized by lymphoplasmacytic infiltration with or without giant cells or granulomas. On the other hand, non-inflammatory aortic damage in rheumatic diseases may include Marfan-like cystic disintegration of the aortic media as well as accelerated atherosclerosis. Awareness of rheumatic conditions with a high potential for clinically significant aortic involvement may promote referral of such patients for aortic imaging and sometimes surgery before fatal complications intervene.
Early diagnosis of aortic involvement can be advanced by informed consideration of such a complication in a rheumatic patient.
PMID: 16859596 [PubMed]