Sex-specific thoracic aortic dimensions and clinical implications

Patients with a dilated thoracic aorta are at risk for aortic complications such as aortic dissection or rupture. While these aortic complications result in high mortality rates, aortic dilatation often remains asymptomatic for a long period of time. Therefore, identification and treatment of individuals with a dilated aorta is of paramount importance. This is specifically relevant given that the diagnostic techniques and therapeutic options are available. Currently, the European Society of Cardiology guidelines define an aorta dilated if the diameter exceeds 40 mm. In addition, preventive surgery is indicated for aortic diameters above 55 mm for both women and men.1

Even though thoracic aortic aneurysms are less prevalent in women as compared with men, the consequences are worse for women. Female patients with an aortic dissection have a poorer surgical outcome and die more frequently than men. Also, the growth rate of a thoracic aneurysm is greater in women…

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