Assessment of Thoracic Aortic Elasticity: A Preliminary Study Using Electrocardiographically Gated Dual-Source CT

OBJECTIVES: To gain a new insight into the elastic properties of the thoracic aorta in patients without aortic diseases using electrocardiographically (ECG)-gated dual-source (DS) CT.

METHODS: 56 subjects with no cardiovascular disease, selected from 2,700 people undergoing ECG-gated DSCT examination, were divided into three groups according to their age. CT data were reconstructed in 5% step throughout the RR interval. Diameter and area were measured at the curve of the ascending aorta (AA) and at the same level of the descending aorta (DA). The pulsation and elasticity of the aorta were evaluated.

RESULTS: Aortic diameter changes were noted throughout the cardiac cycle. The maximum average diameter was seen at an RR interval of 24.02 ± 4.99% for the AA and 25.63 ± 4.77% for the DA. The minimum was at 93.5 ± 4.04% for the AA and 96.6 ± 4.58% for the DA. There was an age-dependent decrease in elasticity, while different correlation coefficients were found between various age groups and different elastic parameters.

CONCLUSIONS: The properties of aortic pulsation and wall elasticity could be well shown by ECG-gated DSCT. The new findings regarding segment difference and age relevance were significant and should be taken into account in clinical trials and treatments for the elasticity related cardiovascular diseases. 

PMID: 21327586

Posted in Computed Tomography and tagged , , .

One Comment

  1. Very interesting study, not only showing CT capacity to assess aortic distensibility, but also how it changes with age:
    “… the age-dependent decrease of elasticity for the thoracic aorta without known vascular disease was detected, which demonstrated the natural process of aging of the aorta.”

    *With the changes starting at 40.

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