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Echocardiography. 2013 Apr;30(4):407-13. doi: 10.1111/echo.12066. Epub 2012 Dec 10.

Aortic distensibility and aortic intima-media thickness in patients without clinical manifestation of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, Adana Numune Education and Research Hospital, Adana, Turkey.



There is growing evidence that aortic distensibility (AD) is a subclinical marker of early atherosclerosis. Aortic intima-media thickness (IMT) was an earlier marker than carotid IMT of preclinical atherosclerosis. In this study, we aimed to assess the relationship between thoracic aortic IMT and AD.


We studied 192 patients (mean age: 45.5 ± 8.4 years) who underwent transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) for various indications. Four different grades were determined according to IMT of thoracic aorta (Grade 1 < 1 mm; 1 mm ≤ Grade 2 < 3 mm; 3 mm ≤ Grade 3 < 5 mm; 5 mm ≤ Grade 4). AD was calculated from the echocardiographically derived ascending aorta diameters and hemodynamic pressure measurements in all patients. High sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and other biochemical markers were measured using an automated chemistry analyzer.


TEE evaluation characterized thoracic aortic intimal morphology as grade 1 in 71 patients (37%), grade 2 in 57 patients (29.7%), grade 3 in 34 patients (17.7%), and grade 4 in 30 (15.6%) patients. The lowest AD level was observed in grade 4 group compared with grade 1 and grade 2 groups (P < 0.001, P = 0.009, respectively). AD level of grade 3 group was lower than grade 1 and grade 2 group (P < 0.001, P = 0.021, respectively). In multiple linear regression analysis, AD was independently associated with age (β = -0.138, P = 0.029), hsCRP (β = -0.209, P = 0.001), and aortic IMT (β = -0.432, P < 0.001).


AD is independently associated with age, thoracic aortic IMT, and hsCRP. Impaired elasticity index of the aorta might be an independent predictor for the severity of thoracic atherosclerosis.

© 2012, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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