Tortuosity in the descending thoracic aorta (DTA) comes with aging and increases the risk of endoleaks after TEVAR. With this report, we would like to define and classify tortuosity in the DTA of patients with thoracic aortic disease.
Retrospective case–control study of two hundred seven patients, comparing sixty-nine controls without aortic disease (CG), to sixty-nine patients with descending thoracic aortic aneurysm (AG) and sixty-nine patients with type B aortic dissection (DG). 3Mensio Vascular software was used to analyze CTA scans and collect the following measurements; tortuosity index, curvature ratio and the maximum tortuosity of the DTA. The DTA was divided into four equal zones. The maximum tortuosity was divided into three groups: low (<30°), moderate (30°–60°) and high tortuosity (>60°).
Compared to the CG, tortuosity was more pronounced in the DG, and even more in the AG, evidenced by the tortuosity index (1.11 vs. 1.20 vs. 1.31; p < 0.001), curvature ratio (1.00 vs. 1.01 vs. 1.03; p < 0.001), maximum tortuosity in degrees (28.17 vs. 33.29 vs. 43.83; p < 0.001) and group of tortuosity (p < 0.001). The maximum tortuosity was further distal for the DG and AG, evidenced by the zone of maximum tortuosity (4A vs. 4B vs. 4B; p < 0.001).
This study shows that tortuosity in the DTA is more prominent in diseased aortas, especially in aneurysmal disease. This phenomenon needs to be taken into account during planning of TEVAR to prevent stent graft-related complications and to obtain positive long-term outcome.