J Biomed 2017; 2:39-44. doi:10.7150/jbm.17983

Research Paper

A macroscopic analysis of the epidemiology of thoracic aorta atherosclerosis: An autopsy study

Apostolos S. Gogakos1,2, Fotios Chatzinikolaou1,2, Triantafyllia Koletsa3, Leonidas Pavlidis4, Dimitrios Paliouras2, Thomas Rallis2, Nikolaos Schizas2, Paul Zarogoulidis5✉, Georgia Trakada6, Christos Simoglou7, Nikolaos Katsikogiannis7, Eirini Sarika7, Achilleas Lazopoulos2, Ilias Karapantzos8, Pavlos Sarafis9, Nikolaos Barbetakis2

1. Department of Forensic Medicine & Toxicology, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece;
2. Thoracic Surgery Department, Theagenio Cancer Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece;
3. Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece;
4. Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece;
5. Pulmonary Department-Oncology Unit, “G. Papanikolaou” General Hospital, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece;
6. Division of Pulmonology, Department of Clinical Therapeutics, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens School of Medicine, Alexandra Hospital, Athens, Greece;
7. Surgery Department (NHS), University General Hospital of Alexandroupolis, Alexandroupolis, Greece;
8. Ear, Nose and Throat Department, “Saint Luke” Private Hospital, Panorama, Thessaloniki, Greece;
9. Department of Nursing, School of Health Sciences, Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol, Cyprus.

Abstract

Background: Atherosclerosis is the most important cardiovascular disease across the globe with a large proportion of associated morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study is to detect the presence of atherosclerosis-like lesions in the three segments of the thoracic aorta (ascending aorta, aortic arch and descending aorta) of 50 unselected adult cadavers of all ages. Methods: An autopsy analysis was performed using 50 unselected adult cadavers (37 male, 13 female - mean age 64.2 years; age range 19-90 years). Macroscopic dissection of the three segments of the thoracic aorta was performed and the presence of atherosclerosis-like lesions was evaluated according to the subjects' demographic and clinical characteristics. Results: Atherosclerotic lesions in at least one of the three aortic segments were identified in 82% of cadavers, 83.78% of male and 76.92% of female. Of 50 subjects, 30% had an atherosclerotic lesion in the ascending aorta, 48% in the aortic arch and 44% in the descending aorta. No aneurysmal changes were detected. Smoking, hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, obesity and coronary disease were the risk factors correlated most with the presence of atherosclerosis. Conclusions: Atherosclerosis-like lesions in the thoracic aorta are prevalent in adults of all ages. Obesity is a major risk factor regarding the development of atheromas. This cadaveric study comes to underline the necessity of further similar studies in order to evaluate the presence of atherosclerosis in the thoracic aorta, and also helps to assess the risk of major cardiovascular events in the general population.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis, Autopsy, Thoracic aorta, Cadaver, Macroscopic.

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How to cite this article:
Gogakos AS, Chatzinikolaou F, Koletsa T, Pavlidis L, Paliouras D, Rallis T, Schizas N, Zarogoulidis P, Trakada G, Simoglou C, Katsikogiannis N, Sarika E, Lazopoulos A, Karapantzos I, Sarafis P, Barbetakis N. A macroscopic analysis of the epidemiology of thoracic aorta atherosclerosis: An autopsy study. J Biomed 2017; 2:39-44. doi:10.7150/jbm.17983. Available from http://www.jbiomed.com/v02p0039.htm