Science and Research

Thoracic and abdominal aortic diameters in a general population: MRI-based reference values and association with age and cardiovascular risk factors

OBJECTIVES: To generate reference values for thoracic and abdominal aortic diameters determined by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and analyse their association with cardiovascular risk factors in the general population. METHODS: Data from participants (n = 1759) of the Study of Health in Pomerania were used for analysis in this study. MRI measurement of thoracic and abdominal aortic diameters was performed. Parameters for calculation of reference values according to age and sex analysis were provided. Multivariable linear regression models were used for determination of aortic diameter-related risk factors, including smoking, blood pressure (BP), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). RESULTS: For the ascending aorta (beta = -0.049, p < 0.001), the aortic arch (beta = -0.061, p < 0.001) and the subphrenic aorta (beta = -0.018, p = 0.004), the body surface area (BSA)-adjusted diameters were lower in men. Multivariable-adjusted models revealed significant increases in BSA-adjusted diameters with age for all six aortic segments (p < 0.001). Consistent results for all segments were observed for the positive associations of diastolic BP (beta = 0.001; 0.004) and HDL (beta = 0.035; 0.087) with BSA-adjusted aortic diameters and for an inverse association of systolic BP (beta = -0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Some BSA-adjusted median aortic diameters are smaller in men than in women. All diameters increase with age, diastolic blood pressure and HDL-C and decrease as systolic BP increases. KEY POINTS: * Median aortic diameter increases with age and diastolic blood pressure. * Median aortic diameter is larger in men than in women. * Some BSA-adjusted median aortic diameters are smaller in men than in women.
  • Mensel, B.
  • Hesselbarth, L.
  • Wenzel, M.
  • Kuhn, J. P.
  • Dorr, M.
  • Volzke, H.
  • Lieb, W.
  • Hegenscheid, K.
  • Lorbeer, R.


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • *Aging
  • Aorta, Abdominal/*anatomy & histology
  • Aorta, Thoracic/*anatomy & histology
  • Blood Pressure/physiology
  • Body Surface Area
  • Cardiovascular Diseases/*etiology/pathology
  • Cholesterol, HDL/metabolism
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking/adverse effects/pathology
  • Aortic diameter
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Population-based research
Publication details
DOI: 10.1007/s00330-015-3926-6
Journal: European radiology
Pages: 969-78 
Number: 4
Work Type: Original
Location: ARCN
Disease Area: General Lung and Other
Partner / Member: UKSH (Kiel)
Access-Number: 26208859
See publication on PubMed

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