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J Vasc Surg. 1994 Dec;20(6):880-6; discussion 887-8.

Presentation and patterns of aortic aneurysms in young patients.

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Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston.



Although aortic aneurysm (AA) is primarily a disease of older age groups, younger (< 51 years) patients infrequently are admitted requiring AA surgery. We sought to compare the characteristics of these patients with those of a randomly selected group of older patients with AA.


We identified 26 patients with AA (group I) under age 51 (mean age 44.8) treated surgically between 1977 and 1993, after excluding patients with acute aortic dissection, traumatic pseudoaneurysms, and ascending or arch aneurysms, and compared them with 75 randomly selected patients with AA between the ages of 65 and 75 (mean age 70.3) who were surgically treated during the same time period (group II).


Prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, coexisting heart, kidney, or occlusive peripheral vascular disease was similar between the two groups, and familial aneurysm rates and sex distribution did not differ significantly. More patients in group I had symptoms at the time of presentation (46% vs 6.7%, p < 0.001), and they also had larger AAs (6.9 cm vs 6.0 cm, p = 0.01). Definable causes of aneurysmal disease, such as Takayasu's, Cogan's, and Marfan syndromes, were more common among the young patients (23% vs 0%, p = 0.01), but most (77%) young patients did not have an identifiable syndrome associated with their aneurysm disease. Group I had a marked shift toward proximal aneurysms, defined as involvement of juxtarenal, suprarenal, or thoracoabdominal aorta (46% vs 18% in group II, p < 0.01). This difference persisted even when aneurysms associated with the above syndromes were excluded from consideration (p = 0.02). Cigarette smoking was much more common among the young patients (83% vs 51% in group II, p < 0.01). Smoking in group II was associated with more extensive aneurysm disease (p = 0.04).


Aneurysmal disease presenting in the young adult is more likely to be symptomatic and associated with more proximal aortic involvement than aneurysmal disease in older patients. Smoking appears to play an important role in the pathogenesis of aneurysmal disease in the young patient and was associated in our study with more proximal aneurysms among older patients. A subgroup of patients at risk for early and aggressive aneurysm disease is suggested by these data.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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