Chronic periaortitis with thoracic aorta and epiaortic artery involvement: a systemic large vessel vasculitis?

Alessandra Palmisano, Maria L. Urban, Domenico Corradi, Rocco Cobelli, Federico Alberici, Federica Maritati, Annibale Versari, Nicolò Pipitone, Carlo Salvarani, Carlo Buzio, Augusto Vaglio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Chronic periaortitis (CP) is a rare disease characterized by fibro-inflammatory tissue surrounding the abdominal aorta and the iliac arteries. Anecdotal reports have shown that CP may also involve other vascular districts, particularly the thoracic aorta. The aim of this study was to investigate the thoracic aorta and epiaortic artery involvement in CP.

METHODS: Patients were eligible if they had undergone imaging studies assessing inflammatory involvement of the thoracic aorta and its major branches (e.g. contrast CT, MRI or PET-CT). We explored the patterns of thoracic vessel involvement and compared the clinical characteristics of patients with and without thoracic disease. Where available, we also reviewed the thoracic vascular/perivascular tissue biopsies.

RESULTS: Of 153 CP patients seen between 1999 and 2012, 77 were eligible. Of these, 28 (36%) had thoracic involvement: 15 (54%) had thoracic periaortitis, with 7 also showing epiaortic artery involvement; 6 (21%) had periaortitis surrounding a thoracic aortic aneurysm, 2 of them with epiaortic artery involvement; 7 (25%) had a thoracic aortic aneurysm without periaortitis. Patients with thoracic disease were more frequently female (P = 0.01), were older (P = 0.001) and had a higher frequency of pain and constitutional symptoms (P = 0.02). Thoracic (peri)vascular biopsies revealed adventitial and peri-adventitial fibro-inflammatory patterns similar to those observed in abdominal CP.

CONCLUSION: In about one-third of patients, CP also involves the thoracic aorta and the epiaortic arteries, which supports the hypothesis of a systemic inflammatory disease of the large arteries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2004-2009
Number of pages6
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2015


  • aneurysms
  • aorta
  • giant cell arteritis
  • periaortitis
  • retroperitoneal fibrosis
  • vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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