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Scientifica (Cairo). 2014;2014:564734. doi: 10.1155/2014/564734. Epub 2014 Apr 17.

Update on abdominal aortic aneurysm research: from clinical to genetic studies.

Author information

1
The Sigfried and Janet Weis Center for Research, Geisinger Health System, Danville, PA, USA ; Department of Surgery, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
2
Department of Surgery, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA ; Department of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery, Geisinger Health System, Danville, PA, USA.
3
Department of General, Visceral, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charité Campus Mitte, Berlin, Germany.
4
The Sigfried and Janet Weis Center for Research, Geisinger Health System, Danville, PA, USA.

Abstract

An abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is a dilatation of the abdominal aorta with a diameter of at least 3.0 cm. AAAs are often asymptomatic and are discovered as incidental findings in imaging studies or when the AAA ruptures leading to a medical emergency. AAAs are more common in males than females, in individuals of European ancestry, and in those over 65 years of age. Smoking is the most important environmental risk factor. In addition, a positive family history of AAA increases the person's risk for AAA. Interestingly, diabetes has been shown to be a protective factor for AAA in many large studies. Hallmarks of AAA pathogenesis include inflammation, vascular smooth muscle cell apoptosis, extracellular matrix degradation, and oxidative stress. Autoimmunity may also play a role in AAA development and progression. In this Outlook paper, we summarize our recent studies on AAA including clinical studies related to surgical repair of AAA and genetic risk factor and large-scale gene expression studies. We conclude with a discussion on our research projects using large data sets available through electronic medical records and biobanks.

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