Multimodality Imaging of Thoracic Aortic Diseases in Adults

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2018 Jun;11(6):902-919. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2018.03.009.


In diagnosing and following patients with acute aortic syndromes and thoracic aortic aneurysms, high-quality imaging of the thoracic aorta is indispensable. Mainstay modalities for thoracic aortic imaging are echocardiography, computed tomographic angiography, and magnetic resonance angiography. For any given clinical scenario, the imaging modality and protocol chosen will have a significant impact on sensitivity and specificity for the aortic diagnosis of concern. Imaging can also provide important ancillary information regarding myocardial performance, aortic valve morphology and function, and end-organ perfusion. Surveillance of patients following thoracic aortic surgery with serial imaging studies can identify complications that may require reintervention, and imaging has played an integral role in development of new surgical and interventional methods. Emerging techniques in thoracic aortic imaging include positron emission tomography, which addresses vessel wall inflammation, and 4-dimensional magnetic resonance angiography, which illustrates flow dynamics.

Keywords: acute aortic syndrome; computed tomographic angiography; echocardiography; magnetic resonance angiography; thoracic aortic aneurysm.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Aorta, Thoracic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aorta, Thoracic / physiopathology
  • Aortic Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aortic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Aortic Diseases / therapy
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Multimodal Imaging*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Regional Blood Flow