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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 Sep 13;58(12):1262-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2011.06.012.

Age-related changes in aortic arch geometry: relationship with proximal aortic function and left ventricular mass and remodeling.

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Division of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.



We sought to define age-related geometric changes of the aortic arch and determine their relationship to central aortic stiffness and left ventricular (LV) remodeling.


The proximal aorta has been shown to thicken, enlarge in diameter, and lengthen with aging in humans. However, no systematic study has described age-related longitudinal and transversal remodeling of the aortic arch and their relationship with LV mass and remodeling.


We studied 100 subjects (55 women, 45 men, average age 46 ± 16 years) free of overt cardiovascular disease using magnetic resonance imaging to determine aortic arch geometry (length, diameters, height, width, and curvature), aortic arch function (local aortic distensibility and arch pulse wave velocity [PWV]), and LV volumes and mass. Radial tonometry was used to calculate central blood pressure.


Aortic diameters and arch length increased significantly with age. The ascending aorta length increased most, with age leading to aortic arch widening and decreased curvature. These geometric changes of the aortic arch were significantly related to decreased ascending aortic distensibility, increased aortic arch PWV (p < 0.001), and increased central blood pressures (p < 0.001). Increased ascending aortic diameter, lengthening, and decreased curvature of the aortic arch (unfolding) were all significantly associated with increased LV mass and concentric remodeling independently of age, sex, body size, and central blood pressure (p < 0.01).


Age-related unfolding of the aortic arch is related to increased proximal aortic stiffness in individuals without cardiovascular disease and associated with increased LV mass and mass-to-volume ratio independent of age, body size, central pressure, and cardiovascular risk factors.

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