Prevalence and correlates of aortic root dilatation in patients with essential hypertension: Relationship with cardiac and extracardiac target organ damage

Cesare Cuspidi, Stefano Meani, Veronica Fusi, Cristiana Valerio, Carla Sala, Alberto Zanchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To assess the prevalence of aortic root dilatation in a large cohort of uncomplicated hypertensive patients and to evaluate the relations of aortic root size to different markers of cardiac and extracardiac target organ damage (TOD). Methods: A total of 3366 untreated and treated essential hypertensive patients (mean age, 53 ± 12 years) consecutively attending our out-patient hypertension clinic and included in the Evaluation of Target Organ Damage in Hypertension (an observational ongoing registry of hypertension-related TOD) were considered for this analysis. All patients underwent routine examinations, 24-h urine collection for microalbuminuria, echocardiography and carotid ultrasonography. Results: Aortic root dilatation, defined by the sex-specific echocardiographic criteria of 40 mm in men and 38 mm in women, was present in 8.5% of men and in 3.1% of women. Compared with 3160 patients with normal aortic size, the group of 206 patients with an enlarged aortic root was older, had higher diastolic blood pressure values and included a greater fraction of subjects under antihypertensive treatment, with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. The prevalence of left ventricular hypertrophy, carotid intima-media thickening, plaques and microalbuminuria was significantly higher in patients with aortic root dilatation. According to a logistic regression analysis, left ventricular hypertrophy, carotid atherosclerosis, overweight and metabolic syndrome were the main independent and potentially modifiable predictors of aortic root dilatation in the whole hypertensive population as well as in untreated and treated hypertensive patients separately. Conclusions: Our study shows that hypertensive patients with aortic root enlargement have more pronounced alterations in cardiac structure and geometry as well as in carotid artery morphology compared with those without the enlargement. Aortic root dilatation therefore appears to be a useful marker of high cardiovascular risk related to TOD. Whether this alteration independently predicts cardiovascular morbidity remains to be proven.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-580
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hypertension
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006


  • Aortic root dilatation
  • Hypertension
  • Target organ damage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Internal Medicine


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