Thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection: increasing prevalence and improved outcomes reported in a nationwide population-based study of more than 14,000 cases from 1987 to 2002

Circulation. 2006 Dec 12;114(24):2611-8. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.106.630400. Epub 2006 Dec 4.


Background: Current knowledge of prevalence, incidence, and survival in thoracic aortic diseases (aneurysm and dissection) is based on small studies from a dated era of treatment and diagnostic procedures. The objective of the present study was to reappraise epidemiology and long-term outcomes in subjects with thoracic aortic disease in a large contemporary population.

Methods and results: All subjects with thoracic aortic aneurysm or dissection identified in Swedish national healthcare registers from 1987 to 2002 were included in the present study. Of 14,229 individuals with thoracic aortic disease, 11,039 (78%) were diagnosed before death. Incidence of thoracic aortic disease rose by 52% in men and by 28% in women to reach 16.3 per 100,000 per year and 9.1 per 100,000 per year, respectively. Operations increased 7-fold in men and 15-fold in women over time. Of the 2455 patients who underwent operation, 389 (16%) died within 30 days, with older age and thoracic aortic rupture as risk factors. In Cox analysis, increasing age was the only variable associated with long-term mortality. Both short- and long-term mortality improved over time. In patients who underwent operation, actuarial survival (95% CI) at 1, 5, and 10 years was 92% (91% to 93%), 77% (75% to 80%), and 57% (53% to 61%), respectively. The cumulative incidence of thoracic aortic reoperations was 7.8% at 10 years.

Conclusions: The prevalence and incidence of thoracic aortic disease was higher than previously reported and increasing. The annual number of operations increased substantially. Surgical (30-day) and long-term survival improved significantly over time to form a growing cohort of patients needing counseling, management decisions, operations, and extended postoperative surveillance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / epidemiology*
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / mortality
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic / surgery
  • Aortic Dissection / epidemiology*
  • Aortic Dissection / mortality
  • Aortic Dissection / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Reoperation
  • Time Factors