Is there an immunogenomic difference between thoracic and abdominal aortic aneurysms?

J Card Surg. 2021 Apr;36(4):1520-1530. doi: 10.1111/jocs.15440. Epub 2021 Feb 18.


Background and aim: Aortic aneurysms most commonly occur in the infra-renal and proximal thoracic regions. While generally asymptomatic, progressive aneurysmal dilation can become rapidly lethal when dissection or ruptures occurs, highlighting the need for more robust screening. Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) is more prevalent compared to thoracic aortic aneurysm (TAA). The true incidence of TAA is underreported due to the absence of population screening and the silent nature of TAA. To achieve the optimum survival rate in aortic aneurysms, knowledge of natural course, genetic association, and surgical results are needed to be applied with adequate medical treatment and careful selection of patients for operation. The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive review of the literature on natural history, immunology, and genetic differences between thoracic and AAAs.

Method: The literature was collected from OVID, SCOPUS, and PubMed.

Results: (1) AAA expands faster than TAA. AAA expands at approximately 0.3-0.45 cm annually, depending on various factors (advancing age, diameter of aorta, smoking etc.). TAA expands up to 0.3 cm annually in a non-bicuspid aortic valve patient. (2) An increase in Matrix metallopeptidase 1, 2, 9, 12, 14 led to degrading extracellular matrix of the aortic vessel wall. This significantly contributed to the pathogenesis in AAA, whereas overactive Transforming growth factor-beta played a major role in the pathogenesis of TAA.

Conclusion: In the future, genetic testing may be the gold standard for tackling the geneticheterogeneity of aneurysms, therefore, identifying at-risk individuals developing TAA andAAA earlier.

Keywords: abdominal aortic aneurysm; aorta and great vessels; cardiothoracic surgery; cardiovascular research; thoracic-aortic aneurysm.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal* / genetics
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Thoracic* / genetics
  • Dilatation, Pathologic
  • Humans
  • Incidence