Association of aortic wall thickness on contrast-enhanced chest CTwith major cerebro-cardiac events

Silvia Tresoldi, Giovanni Di Leo, Elena Zoffoli, Alice Munari, Alessandra Primolevo, Gianpaolo Cornalba, Francesco Sardanelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is a significant association between aortic atherosclerosis and previous major cardiovascular events. Particularly, thoracic aortic atherosclerosis is closely related to the degree of coronary and carotid artery disease. Thus, there is a rationale for screening the thoracic aorta in patients who undergo a chest computed tomography (CT) for any clinical question, in order to detect patients at increased risk of cerebro-cardiovascular (CCV) events. Purpose: To estimate the association between either thoracic aortic wall thickness (AWT) or aortic total calcium score (ATCS) and CCV events. Material and Methods: One hundred and forty-eight non-cardiac patients (78 men; 67±12 years) underwent chest contrast-enhanced multidetector CT (MDCT). The AWTwas measured at the level of the left atrium (AWTref) and at the maximum AWT (AWTmax). Correlation with clinical CCV patients' history was estimated. The value of AWTmax and of a semi-quantitative ATCS as a marker for CCV events was assessed using receiver-operating characteristic curve (ROC) analysis and multivariate regression analysis. Results: Out of 148 patients, 59% reported sedentary lifestyle, 44% hypertension, 32% smoking, 23% hypercholesterolemia, 13% family history of cardiac disease, 12% diabetes, and 10% BMI ≥30 kg/m2; 9% reported myocardial infarction, 8% aortic aneurism, 8% myocardial revascularization, and 2% ischemic stroke. Twenty-six percent of patients had a medium-to-high ATCS. Both AWTmax and AWTref correlated with hypertension and age (Pmax median value (4.3 mm) of patients who suffered from at least one CCV event in their history, a negative predictive value of 90%, a RR of 3.6 and an OR of 6.3 were found. At the multivariate regression analysis, AWTmax was the only independent variable associated to the frequency of CCV events. Conclusion: Patients with increased thoracic AWTmax on chest MDCT could be considered at risk for CCV disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1040-1049
Number of pages10
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Aorta
  • atherosclerosis
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • cerebrovascular insufficiency
  • multidetector computed tomography (MDCT)
  • risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Medicine(all)


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