Cardiovascular anomalies in Turner syndrome: spectrum, prevalence, and cardiac MRI findings in a pediatric and young adult population

AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2011 Feb;196(2):454-60. doi: 10.2214/AJR.10.4973.


Objective: Turner syndrome affects one in 2,500 girls and women and is associated with cardiovascular anomalies. Visualizing the descending thoracic aorta in adults with Turner syndrome with echocardiography is difficult. Therefore, cardiac MRI is the preferred imaging modality for surveillance. Our goals were to use cardiac MRI describe the spectrum and frequency of cardiovascular abnormalities and to evaluate aortic dilatation and associated abnormalities in pediatric patients with Turner syndrome.

Materials and methods: The cases of 51 patients with Turner syndrome (median age, 18.4 years; range, 6-36 years) were evaluated with cardiac MRI. The characteristics assessed included aortic structure, elongation of the transverse aortic arch, aortic diameter at multiple locations, and coarctation of the aorta (CoA). Additional evaluations were made for presence of bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), and partial anomalous pulmonary venous return (PAPVR). Associations between the cardiac MRI data and the following factors were assessed: age, karyotype, body surface area, blood pressure, and ventricular sizes and function.

Results: Sixteen patients (31.4%) had elongation of the transverse aortic arch, eight (15.7%) had CoA, 20 (39.2%) had BAV, and eight (15.7%) had PAPVR. Aortic dilatation was most common at the aortic sinus (30%). Elongation of the transverse aortic arch was associated with CoA (p < 0.01) and BAV (p < 0.05). Patients with elongation of the transverse aortic arch had dilated aortic sinus (p < 0.05). Patients with PAPVR had increased right heart mass (p < 0.05), increased ratio of main pulmonary artery to aortic valve blood flow (p = 0.0014), and increased right ventricular volume (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Cardiovascular anomalies in pediatric patients with Turner syndrome include aortic abnormalities and PAPVR. The significant association between elongation of the transverse aortic arch and CoA, BAV, and aortic sinus dilatation may contribute to increased risk of aortic dissection. The presence of PAPVR can be hemodynamically significant. These findings indicate that periodic cardiac MRI screening of persons with Turner syndrome is beneficial.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Abnormalities / diagnosis*
  • Cardiovascular Abnormalities / epidemiology*
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Incidence
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Prevalence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Turner Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult