Aortic root dilation is important in the diagnosis of familial aortic syndromes, such as Marfan syndrome, and an important risk factor for aortic complications, such as dissection or rupture. Transthoracic echocardiography reliably measures the absolute aortic root size; however, the degree of abnormality of the measurement requires correction for the expected normal aortic root size for each patient. The expected normal size is currently predicted according to the body surface area (BSA) and age. However, the correlation between root size and BSA is imperfect, particularly for older patients. A potential exists to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients with aortic disease, with an improved estimation of normal aortic root size. A reference size derived from within the cardiovascular system has been hypothesized to provide a more direct correlation with the aortic root size. Images from the Stanford echocardiography database were reviewed, and measurements of the aortic root and internal dimensions were performed in a control cohort (n = 150). The measurements were repeated in adult patients with Marfan syndrome (n = 70) on serial echocardiograms (145 total studies reviewed). Of the 150 control patients, excellent correlation was found between the aortic root and left ventricular outflow tract diameters, r(2) = 0.67, and r(2) = 0.34 with BSA (p <0.0001, for both). More importantly, using the left ventricular outflow tract to predict the normal aortic root size, instead of the BSA and age, improved the diagnostic accuracy of aortic root measurements for diagnosing Marfan syndrome. In conclusion, an internal cardiovascular reference, the left ventricular outflow tract diameter, can improve the diagnosis of aortic disease and might provide a better reference for the degree of abnormality.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.06.062
View details for Web of Science ID 000311523900021
View details for PubMedID 22858189