Predicting the risk for acute type B aortic dissection in hypertensive patients using anatomic variables

Aditya S. Shirali, Moritz S. Bischoff, Hung Mo Lin, Irina Oyfe, Robert Lookstein, Randall B. Griepp, Gabriele Di Luozzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objectives: This study sought to identify possible anatomic predictors of acute type B aortic dissection (AAD) in hypertensive patients using multidetector computed tomography angiography (CTA). Background: Although hypertension remains one of the most significant risk factors for AAD development, it is unlikely to be the only risk factor for AAD. Few studies have assessed anatomical predictors of AAD development. Methods: CTA of normotensive patients without AAD (group 1, n = 35), hypertensive patients without AAD (group 2, n = 37), and hypertensive patients with AAD (group 3, n = 37) were compared. The length, diameter, volume, and tortuosity of the aorta as well as arch vessel angulation were measured for each patient and normalized to group 1 averages. Stepwise logistic regression identified significant anatomical associations; the model was validated based on 1,000 bootstrapped samples. Results: The demographics of the groups were similar. The length of the proximal and entire aorta, the diameters in the proximal ascending aorta and aortic arch, and the aortic volumes were all greater (p < 0.0001, p = 0.0064 for ascending aortic diameter) in group 3 than in groups 1 and 2, as was entire aortic tortuosity (p < 0.0001). An AAD risk model was developed based on aortic arch diameter, length from the aortic root to the iliac bifurcation, and angulation of the brachiocephalic artery origin from the aorta. The bootstrap estimate of the area under the receiver operating curve was 0.974. Conclusions: Enlargement of the ascending aorta and aortic arch and increased aortic tortuosity reflect an aortopathy which enhances the probability of AAD. A model based on 3 anatomical variables demonstrates significant associations with AAD: It may allow identification by aortic imaging of the hypertensive patient most at risk, and permit implementation of aggressive medical management and consideration of pre-emptive surgery to prevent dissection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-357
Number of pages9
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • anatomic variables
  • aortic dissection
  • hypertension


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