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Aortic root dilatation in young men with normally functioning bicuspid aortic valves


OBJECTIVE To evaluate the dimensions of the aortic root in a selected population of young males with isolated normally functioning bicuspid aortic valve.

DESIGN AND SETTING Echocardiographic and Doppler evaluation of conscripts with bicuspid aortic valve at the time of military pre-enrolment screening in two military hospitals.

SUBJECTS AND METHODS 66 consecutive young men with a normally functioning bicuspid aortic valve were studied to assess aortic size at four aortic levels: annulus, sinuses of Valsalva, supra-aortic ridge, and proximal ascending aorta; 70 consecutive normal young subjects, matched for age and body surface area, were used as controls.

RESULTS In men with a bicuspid aortic valve, the diameter of the aortic root was significantly larger than in controls at the sinuses (3.16 (0.37)v 2.87 (0.31) cm, p < 0.001), at the supra-aortic ridge (2.64 (0.46) v 2.47 (0.28) cm, p = 0.01), and at the level of the proximal ascending aorta (3.12 (0.48) v 2.69 (0.28) cm, p < 0.001). The prevalence of aortic root dilatation was 7.5% at the annulus (5/66), 19.6% at the sinuses (13/66), 15% at the supra-aortic ridge (10/66), and 43.9% at the ascending aorta (29/66); 32 subjects (48%) had aortic root dimensions comparable with controls, while 34 (52%) had definitely abnormal aortic root dimensions.

CONCLUSIONS Aortic root enlargement in people with a bicuspid aortic valve occurs independently of haemodynamic abnormalities, age, and body size. However, there appear to be different subgroups of young adults with bicuspid aortic valves, one of which is characterised by aortic dilatation, possibly caused by a congenital abnormality of the aortic wall.

  • bicuspid aortic valve
  • aortic root dilatation

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