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Syphilis as a Cause of Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm

The American journal of cardiology | 27 Aug 2015

WC Roberts, CM Barbin, MR Weissenborn, JM Ko and AC Henry
In 2009, we described morphologic findings in 22 patients having resection of an ascending aortic aneurysm in the previous 11 years at the Baylor University Medical Center, and histologic examination of the aneurysmal wall disclosed classic findings of syphilitic aortitis. The major purpose of that extensively illustrated report was to describe the characteristic gross features of the aneurysm such that syphilitic aortitis might be better recognized at operation and appropriate antibiotics administered postoperatively. The aim of the present study was to emphasize that syphilis remains a major cause of ascending aortic aneurysm. From January 1, 2009, to December 31, 2014, we studied additional 23 patients who had resection of an ascending aortic aneurysm that again histologically had classic features of syphilitic aortitis. All 23 patients were found to have syphilitic aortitis grossly and histologically. The aneurysm involved the ascending portion of aorta in all 23, the arch portion in 12, and the descending thoracic portion in 10. In conclusion, syphilis has far from disappeared. It remains a major cause of ascending aortic aneurysm.
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St. Louis, Missouri, Histology, Aortic dissection, Syphilitic aortitis, Aorta, Aneurysm of sinus of Valsalva, Aortic aneurysm, Syphilis
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