Distensibility and pulse wave velocity of the thoracic aorta in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis: an MRI study

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2003 Nov-Dec;21(6):794-7.


Objective: An increased incidence of cardiovascular disease has been found in rheumatic disorders. Changes in the variables of aortic elasticity in patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) were evaluated and their relationship to inflammation, anti-rheumatic drugs and traditional cardiovascular risk factors were investigated in this study.

Methods: Phase contrast MR was performed in 31 patients with JIA and 28 age and sex matched controls to evaluate the aortic distensibility and pulse wave velocity (PWV). Disease activity variables, plasma lipid profile, homocysteine, thyroid hormones, glucose and insulin were assessed in the patients.

Results: Eighteen patients had oligoarticular, 6 polyarticular and 7 systemic disease. Distensibility was lower (mean: 10.25; SD: 4.18) and PWV was higher (mean: 3.68; SD: 1.59) in the patients compared to the controls (mean: 13.4; SD: 4.99), (mean: 1.38; SD: 0.54) respectively (p < 0.01). A positive correlation between PWV and age was observed in the patients (rs = 0.47, p < 0.01) and controls (rs = 0.72, p < 0.01), and a negative correlation between distensibility and age in the patients (rs = -0.59, p < 0.01) and controls (rs = -0.63, p < 0.01). No statistically significant correlations were found between distensibility and PWV and metabolic and disease activity parameters. When distensibility and PWV were adjusted for age no significant differences were found between the three subtypes of JIA.

Conclusion: JIA is associated with increased aortic stiffness that might suggest subclinical atherosclerosis. Early detection and follow-up by non-invasive methods may be useful in the prevention of future cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aorta, Thoracic / pathology*
  • Arteriosclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Arteriosclerosis / epidemiology*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / diagnosis*
  • Arthritis, Juvenile / epidemiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Probability
  • Pulsatile Flow / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sex Distribution
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Vascular Resistance