2014 CCS Thoracic Aortic Disease Guideline Summary


Boodhwani et al (2014)  “Canadian Cardiovascular Society Position Statement on the Management of Thoracic Aortic Disease” Can J Cardiol 30:577-589


  • Generally asymptomatic until a catastrophic event (dissection/rupture)
  • Decision on intervention must be individualized by balancing risks of aortic complications vs. risk of surgical intervention:
Factors associated with increased risk of aortic complicationsFactors associated with increased risk of surgical intervention
  • ***Aortic diameter***
  • Connective tissue disorder
  • Family history of aortopathy
  • Bicuspid aortic valve
  • Aneurysm related symptoms
  • Rapid growth (>0.5 cm/y)
  • Concomitant aortic valve disease
  • Uncontrolled hypertension
  • Aortic arch pathology
  • Descending thoracic aortic pathology
  • COPD
  • Renal dysfunction
  • Previous cardiac surgery
  • Advanced age
  • LV Dysfunction 

Intervention Thresholds

Table: Recommended size thresholds for intervention of asymptomatic thoracic aortic aneurysms
 Aortic RootAscendingArchDescending
Degenerative5.5 cm5.5 cm6.0 cm6.5 cm
Bicuspid Aortic Valve5.0-5.5 cm5.0-5.5 cm5.5 cm6.5 cm
Marfan Syndrome5.0 cm *5.0 cm5.5-6.0 cm5.5-6.0 cm
Familial Aortopathy4.5-5.0 cm4.5-5.0 cm5.5-6.0 cm5.5-6.0 cm
Other Genetic Syndromes4.0-5.0 cm4.2-5.0 cm5.5-6.0 cm5.5-6.0 cm
Undergoing CVSx4.5 cm
* For women anticipating pregnancy, threshold is 4.1-4.5 cm

Genetic Causes

Marfan SyndromeFBN1Autosomal D.Asc++, Arch+, Desc+– Ghent Criteria
Loeys-Dietz SyndromeTGFBR1, TGFBR2, SMAD3, TGFB2AD var. expr.

Asc++, Arch+, Desc+

Aneurysm-osteoarthritis SyndromeSMAD3Autosomal DAsc++, Desc+ 
Ehlers-Danlos Type IVCOL3A1Autosomal DAsc+, Desc+ 
Bicuspid Ao ValveMultipleComlex, Familial ClusterAsc++, Arch+, Desc- 
Familial Thoracic Ao AneurysmTGFB2, TGFBR1, TGFBR2, MYH11, SMAD3, ACTA2Autosomal D with reduced penetrance, var expr.Asc++, Arch+, Desc+ 


  • Risk of repair: 1% complications in experienced centres
  • Aneurysms involving arch and descending aorta have a higher risk

Follow-Up for dilated aorta:

  • Echocardiogram at diagnosis and at 6mo to determine rate of progression
    • Once stable, yearly echo (more frequent if > 4.5cm)
  • Genetic Testing if not Bicuspid AoV
  • Screen 1st degree relatives if
    • Genetic cause of aortic disease
    • Bicuspid aortic valve
Marfans Patients With Dilated Aorta
CCS Position Statement 2014 – Thoracic Aortic Disease
  • Target BP < 140/90 (Diabetes < 130/90)
  • B-Blocker and ARB 1st line to reduce dilation rate
    • Can add ACE/ARB/B-Blocker
  • Aggressive CV RF modification (smoking, exercise, etc.)
  • Avoid strenuous isometric exercise
  • Women with Marfan’s planning pregnancy should get root+aortic replacement at 4.1-4.5cm
 After Surgical Intervention
CCS Position Statement 2014 – Thoracic Aortic Disease
  • Image entire aorta every 3-5y
    • Preferred modality: MRI if < 50 yo; CT if > 50 yo
  • Resume private driving 6 weeks and commercial 3 months after open repair
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