The epidemiology of pathologically confirmed clinically isolated aortitis: a North American population-based study

M. Kaymakci, M. Elfishawi, H. E. Langenfeld, C. S. Crowson, C. M. Weyand, M. J. Koster, K. J. Warrington

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Clinically isolated aortitis (CIA) refers to inflammation of the aorta without signs of systemic vasculitis or infection. Population-based data on the epidemiology of CIA in North America is lacking. We aimed to investigate the epidemiology of pathologically confirmed CIA. Methods Residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota were screened for thoracic aortic aneurysm procedures with current procedural terminology codes between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2021, using the resources of the Rochester Epidemiology Project. The medical records of all patients were manually reviewed. CIA was defined as histopathologically confirmed active aortitis diagnosed by evaluation of aortic tissue obtained during thoracic aortic aneurysm surgery in the absence of any infection, rheumatic disease, or systemic vasculitis. Incidence rates were age and sex adjusted to the 2020 United States total population. Results Eight incident cases of CIA were diagnosed during the study period; 6 (75%) of them were female. Median (IQR) age at diagnosis of CIA was 78.3 (70.2–78.9) years; all were diagnosed following ascending aortic aneurysm repair. The overall age and sex adjusted annual incidence rate of CIA was 8.9 (95% CI, 2.7–15.1) per 1,000,000 individuals over age 50 years. The median (IQR) duration of follow-up was 8.7 (1.2–12.0) years. The overall mortality compared to the age and sex matched general population did not differ (standardised mortality ratio: 1.58; 95% CI, 0.51–3.68). Conclusion This is the first population-based epidemiologic study of pathologically confirmed CIA in North America. CIA predominantly affects women in their eighth decade and is quite rare.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)956-960
Number of pages5
JournalClinical and experimental rheumatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • clinically isolated aortitis
  • epidemiology
  • population-based
  • vasculitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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