OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to investigate whether diameter measurements of the thoracic aorta and the heart can be used as prognostic markers for future cardiovascular disease.
METHODS: Following a case-cohort design, a total of 10,410 patients undergoing chest computed tomography were followed up for a mean period of 17 months. The ones with a cardiovascular indication were excluded. Diameter measurements were evaluated with Cox proportional hazard analysis.
RESULTS: Five hundred fifteen incident cardiovascular events occurred during follow-up. The heart (hazard ratio [HR], 1.04; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.03-1.06) and ascending thoracic (HR, 1.002; 95% CI, 1.001-1.004) diameter showed an exponential prognostic effect beyond a threshold diameter of, respectively, 11 and 30 mm; the descending aortic diameter (HR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.01-1.13) and cardiothoracic ratio (HR, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.04-1.08) showed linear prognostic effects beyond, respectively, 25 and 0.45 mm.
CONCLUSION: Intrathoracic diameter measurements can be used as markers to predict cardiovascular events in patients not referred for that disease outcome.