New insights on tuberculous aortitis

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Abstract

Objective:

Aortitis is an exceedingly rare manifestation of tuberculosis. We describe 11 patients with tuberculous aortitis (TA).

Methods:

Multicenter medical charts of patients hospitalized between 2003 and 2015 with TA in Paris, France, were reviewed. Demographic, medical history, laboratory, imaging, pathologic findings, treatment, and follow-up data were extracted from medical records. TA was considered when aortitis was diagnosed in a patient with active tuberculosis.

Results:

Eleven patients (8 women; median age, 44.6 years) with TA were identified during this 12-year period. No patient had human immunodeficiency virus infection. Tuberculosis was active in all cases, with a median delay of 18 months between the first symptoms and diagnosis. At disease onset, vascular signs were mainly claudication, asymmetric blood pressure, and diminished distal pulses. Constitutional symptoms or extravascular signs were present in all patients at some point. Aortic pseudoaneurysm was the most frequent lesion, but three patients had isolated inflammatory aortic stenosis. TA appeared as extension from a contiguous infection in only three cases. Tuberculosis was considered because of clinical features, tuberculin skin or QuantiFERON-TB Gold (Quest Diagnostics, Madison, NJ) test results, pathologic findings, and improvement on antituberculosis therapy. A definite Mycobacterium tuberculosis identification was made in only three cases. All patients received antituberculosis therapy for 6 to 12 months. Surgery including Bentall procedures, aortic bypass, and open abdominal aneurysm repair was performed at diagnosis in eight patients. Seven patients received steroids as an adjunct therapy. All patients clinically improved under treatment. No patients died for a median follow-up duration of 4 years.

Conclusions:

TA may result in aneurysms contiguous to regional adenitis but also in isolated inflammatory aortic stenosis. Steroids may be associated with antituberculosis therapy for inflammatory stenotic lesions. Surgery is indicated for aneurysms and in case of worsening stenotic lesions despite anti-inflammatory drugs. No patient died after such combined treatment strategy.

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