Aortitis: imaging spectrum of the infectious and inflammatory conditions of the aorta

Radiographics. 2011 Mar-Apr;31(2):435-51. doi: 10.1148/rg.312105069.


Aortitis is a general term that refers to a broad category of infectious or noninfectious conditions in which there is abnormal inflammation of the aortic wall. These inflammatory conditions have different clinical and morphologic features and variable prognoses. The clinical manifestations are usually vague and nonspecific and may include pain, fever, vascular insufficiency, and elevated levels of acute phase reactants, as well as other systemic manifestations. As a result, aortitis is often overlooked during the initial work-up of patients with constitutional symptoms and systemic disorders. A multimodality imaging approach is often required for assessment of both the aortic wall and aortic lumen, as well as for surveillance of disease activity and treatment planning. Noninvasive cross-sectional imaging modalities such as magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, MR angiography, and computed tomographic angiography play a critical role in initial evaluation and further assessment of aortitis. Radiologists should be familiar with the clinical features and imaging findings of the different types of aortitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiography / methods*
  • Aorta / pathology*
  • Aortitis / diagnosis*
  • Aortography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*