Chronobiology of rupture and dissection of aortic aneurysms

J Vasc Surg. 2004 Aug;40(2):382-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2004.04.019.


A growing body of evidence suggests that the occurrence of cardiovascular events is not evenly distributed over time, but shows peculiar temporal patterns that vary with time of day, day of the week, and month (season) of the year. These patterns coincide with the temporal variation in the pathophysiologic mechanisms that trigger cardiovascular events and the physiologic changes in body rhythms. These two factors in combination contribute to the periodicity in susceptibility to acute cardiovascular events. The classic assumption of epidemiologic studies that there is a constancy in risk for disease during the various time domains has now been challenged by the emerging new concept of chronorisk. In the last two decades temporal patterns (circadian, weekly, seasonal) have been identified for several acute cardiovascular diseases, such as acute myocardial infarction, sudden death, pulmonary embolism, and stroke, with peak incidence for most in the morning and during winter. One of the most life-threatening cardiovascular emergencies, aortic aneurysm rupture or dissection, also demonstrates periodicity, characterized by a similar temporal distribution, which suggests a common pathophysiologic mechanism or triggers similar to other cardiovascular acute emergencies. We review the data on chronobiology of acute aortic rupture or dissection, and discuss various pathophysiologic mechanisms that account for this variability. It is likely that identification of consistent recurring patterns in the underlying risk mechanisms could provide potential new insights for more precise diagnosis and efficacious therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Aneurysm / physiopathology*
  • Aortic Dissection / physiopathology*
  • Aortic Rupture / physiopathology*
  • Chronobiology Phenomena / physiology*
  • Humans