Journal of Clinical and Scientific Research

CASE REPORT
Year
: 2022  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 62--64

Aortic aneurysm associated with rheumatoid aortitis


Deepak Moka, Sai Subrahmanyam Pappu, Azigiri Sri Nanditha, Naval Chandra 
 Department of General Medicine, Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Naval Chandra
Additional Professor, Department of General Medicine, Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences, Punjagutta, Hyderabad 500 082, Telangana
India

Abstract

A 59-year-old female, presented with dry cough, burning micturition with urgency and frequency for 2 months. She was known to have hypertension, hypothyroidism and rheumatoid arthritis for the past 30 years; and was receiving oral methotrexate 20 mg per-week. She also had complianed of low backache for 2 months. No phenotypic features of Marfans/Ehler Danlos were evident. Cardiovascular system examination was unremarkable. Chest radiograph showed mediastinal widening with a large fusiform descending thoracic aortic aneurysm. Computed tomography (CT) of the chest showed subpleural fibrosis and fusiform dilatation of the aorta from the origin till the supracoeliac aorta. CT aortogram revealed an irregular non-enhancing wall thickening and calcification of the aorta with fusiform dilatation (4.5 cm × 4.6 cm in the ascending aorta and 4.4 cm × 4.3 cm in the distal descending aorta). The patient did not have any features of giant cell arteritis (GCA)/Takayasu's arteritis; Venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test was negative. The patient was diagnosed to have aortic regurgitation due to long standing rheumatoid arthritis and was referred to the department of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery for further management.



How to cite this article:
Moka D, Pappu SS, Nanditha AS, Chandra N. Aortic aneurysm associated with rheumatoid aortitis.J Clin Sci Res 2022;11:62-64


How to cite this URL:
Moka D, Pappu SS, Nanditha AS, Chandra N. Aortic aneurysm associated with rheumatoid aortitis. J Clin Sci Res [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Dec 5 ];11:62-64
Available from: https://www.jcsr.co.in/text.asp?2022/11/5/62/355076


Full Text



 Introduction



Rheumatoid arthritis is characterised by symmetric polyarthritis and is the most common cause of chronic inflammatory arthritis. Vasculitis occurs in fewer than 1% of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and usually in those with severe deforming disease and high titres of rheumatoid factor. Rheumatoid vasculitis usually involves small-medium vessels. Large vessel involvement with aortitis occurs in 5% of patients with rheumatoid vasculitis.

Ascending aortitis is underrecognised as a cause of ascending aortic aneurysms. Diagnosis is often incidental as most patients are asymptomatic. Aneurysm formation secondary to rheumatoid vasculitis is extremely rare and then usually affects the aortic root and ascending aorta.[1] We report a case of thoracic aortic aneurysm secondary to rheumatoid arthritis.

 Case Report



A 59-year-old female with a history of hypertension, hypothyroidism, and rheumatoid arthritis for 30 years on methotrexate 20 MG once/week, came with a complaint of dry cough for 2 months and burning micturition with urgency and frequency. There was a complaint of low backache for 2 months. No phenotypic features of Marfans/Ehler Danlos were evident. On cardiovascular system examination, no abnormalities were found.

Chest X-ray showed mediastinal widening with a large fusiform descending thoracic aortic aneurysm [Figure 1]. Computed tomography (CT) of the chest was done for the evaluation of chronic cough, which showed subpleural fibrosis and fusiform dilatation of the aorta from the origin till the supraceliac aorta. On CT aortogram, there was irregular non-enhancing wall thickening and calcification of the aorta with fusiform dilatation (4.5 cm × 4.6 cm in the ascending aorta and 4.4 cm × 4.3 cm in the distal descending aorta) likely to be sequelae of rheumatoid arthritis [Figure 2].{Figure 1}{Figure 2}

The patient did not have any features of giant cell arteritis (GCA)/Takayasu's arteritis and VDRL test was negative.

The patient had mild aortic regurgitation (AR) and asymptomatic aneurysm with a size of 4.5 cm; she was advised to follow-up under cardiothoracic surgery.

 Discussion



Aortitis is a general term that refers to a broad category of infectious or non-infectious conditions, in which there is an abnormal inflammation of the aortic wall.[2] Aortitis occurs in a number of inflammatory and non-inflammatory disorders, including Kawasaki's syndrome, Behçet's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, syphilis and tuberculosis.[3] Most commonly Salmonella and Staphylococcal species, along with Streptococcus pneumoniae, are the infectious causes of aortitis. Syphilitic or luetic aortitis, now exceedingly rare, typically involves the ascending aorta and is associated with thoracic aortic aneurysm.[4]

The overall most common causes of aortitis are the large-vessel vasculitides GCA and Takayasu's arteritis.[4] In addition to GCA and Takayasu's arteritis, other rheumatologic disorders including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, Behçet's disease, polyarteritis nodosa and microscopic polyangiitis may lead to aortitis. In the case of rheumatoid-associated aortitis, rheumatoid nodules are in the aortic wall in up to 50% of pathologic specimens.[4]

In an autopsy study[5] of 188 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a 5.3% prevalence of aortitis and 1.6% prevalence of aneurysm formation were reported. The aortic valve and annulus may also be affected with granulomatous or non-granulomatous inflammation, leaflet thickening and secondary regurgitation.[6]

RA-associated aortitis essentially occurs in patients with severe RA, indicating an association with RV. The following risk factors for RV onset have been reported:[7] (i) high-titre rheumatoid factor; (ii) course of 1 year or more after the onset; (iii) presence of bone erosions; and (iv) presence of rheumatoid nodules.

Characteristic histopathology confirmation of vasculitis is generally necessary for a diagnosis of rheumatoid vasculitis. Other clinical and laboratory features are often supportive and may be used to assist follow-up.[8] Since the introduction of CT, it has become the preferred imaging technique to define aortic anatomy. The sensitivity and specificity of angioscans have increased greatly in the last few years reaching up to 100%.[9] As the patient had multiple risk factors for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and as RA can lead to accelerated atherosclerosis, atherosclerotic aneurysm was considered but the aortogram was suggestive of aneurysm as sequelae of inflammatory aortitis.

If diagnosed early, mild-to-moderate dilated ascending aortas can certainly benefit directly from medications such as beta-blockers and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors. In asymptomatic patients, surgical repair is indicated when the size exceeds 5.5 cm or a growth rate of 0.5 cm/year.[10] Aortitis is a rare cause of aneurysm. Aortic aneurysm as a consequence of aortitis due to inflammatory disorders line GCA or Takayasu's arteritis has been reported. In a patient with suggestive history, the possibility of rheumatoid aortitis needs to be considered.

Financial Support and Sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of Interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

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