We report the spectrum of aortic involvement in patients with giant cell arteritis (GCA) following review of medical records of 4,006 patients including those with imaging studies. A total of 1,450 patients (36%) had a confirmed diagnosis of GCA. Of these, 974 had aortic imaging. Of the 974 patients with imaging, 435 (45%) had an identified aortopathy. The most common aortopathy was aneurysm/dilation (69%). Overall, an annual aneurysmal growth rate of 1.5 mm/y was calculated. In patients with aneurysm/dilation, aortic dissection occurred in 18 patients (6%), and these patients had a significantly higher aneurysmal growth rate compared with those without dissection (4.5 vs 1.4 mm/y, p = 0.005). The median size of the aorta at the time of dissection was 51 mm, with 7 (39%) occurring with a maximal aortic aneurysm/dilation <50 mm. In conclusion, our findings indicate higher aneurysmal growth rate in GCA compared with that reported for degenerative aortic disease. Moreover, patients who develop dissection had a significantly higher growth rate than those without dissection with over a third of these patients suffering dissection at a caliber <50 mm.
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