Purpose To determine the normal size and wall thickness of the ascending thoracic aorta (AA) and its relationship with cardiovascular risk factors in a large population-based study. Materials and Methods The mean AA luminal diameter was measured in 3573 Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) participants (age: 45-84 years), using gradient echo phase contrast cine MRI. Multiple linear regression models were used to evaluate the associations between risk factors and AA diameter. The median and upper normal limit (95th percentile) was defined in a "healthy" subgroup as well as AA wall thickness. Results The upper limits of body surface area indexed AA luminal diameter for age categories of 45-54, 55-64, 65-74, and 75-84 years are 21, 22, 22, and 28 mm/m2 in women and 20, 21, 22, 23 mm/m2 in men, respectively. The mean AA wall thickness was 2.8 mm. Age, gender, and body surface area were major determinants of AA luminal diameter (∼+1 mm/10 years; ∼+1.9 mm in men than women; ∼+1 mm/ 0.23 m2; P < 0.001). The AA diameter in hypertensive subjects was +0.9 mm larger than in normotensives (P < 0.001). Conclusion AA diameter increases gradually with aging for both genders among all race/ethnicities. The normal value of AA diameter is provided.
- cardiovascular risk factors
- normal value
- thoracic aorta
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging