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Aortic distensibility and dilation in Turner’s syndrome

  • Jayendra Sharma (a1), Deborah Friedman (a1), Swati Dave-Sharma (a2) and Madeleine Harbison (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 27 October 2009

Aortic dilation and dissection is reported in patients with Turner’s syndrome, both with and without cardiovascular risk factors. The bicuspid aortic valve is closely associated with dilated aortic root, although expression of aortic dilation is variable. The determinants for variable expression of aortic dilation in individuals with Turner’s syndrome, however, are unknown.


A primary mesenchymal defect is prevalent in individuals with Turner’s syndrome, suggested by having abnormalities in bone matrix, and lymphatic and peripheral blood vessels. We hypothesize that an abnormal intrinsic elastic property of aorta is a forerunner of aortic dilation in Turner’s syndrome.


Assess utility of aortic distensibility as a measure of aortic elasticity for the stratification of the risk for aortic dilation, and its relationship with age, karyotype, and hormonal therapy.


Prospective cross-sectional study.

Patients and method

We performed cross-sectional M-mode and Doppler echocardiography in 24 individuals with Turner’s syndrome. Dimensions of the aortic root, and its distensibility, were calculated using standard techniques. We also examined a control group of 24 age matched normotensive patients with structurally normal hearts, who had been referred for evaluation of cardiac murmurs or chest pain.


Aortic dilation was the most common cardiac anomaly, seen in 11 of 24 (46%) individuals with Turner’s syndrome, and none in control group. Of these individuals, 5 without cardiovascular risk factors had aortic dilation. In 2 young girls, aortic dimensions were normal, albeit with reduced distensibility. Aortic dilation correlated inversely with aortic distensibility, but not with age, karyotype or hormonal therapy.


Individuals with Turner’s syndrome, even without cardiovascular risk factors, do develop aortic dilation accompanied by decreased aortic distensibility, suggestive of an intrinsic abnormality in elastic property of the ascending aorta.

Corresponding author
Correspondence to: Jayendra Sharma, MD, FACC, Director, Pediatric Cardiology, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, 8900, Van Wyck expressway, Cardiology Suite-First floor, Jamaica, NY 11418. Tel: 718-206-7138; Fax: 718-206-7144; E-mail:
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Cardiology in the Young
  • ISSN: 1047-9511
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