News | Computed Tomography (CT) | January 11, 2018

CT Shows Enlarged Aortas in Former Pro Football Players

Study shows NFL players are more likely to have enlarged aortas, putting former players at higher risk of aneurysms

CT Shows Enlarged Aortas in Former Pro Football Players

3-D rendering from a cardiac CT dataset demonstrating mild dilation of the ascending aorta.

January 11, 2018 — Former National Football League (NFL) players are more likely to have enlarged aortas, a condition that may put them at higher risk of aneurysms, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), Nov. 26-Dec. 1 in Chicago.

The aorta, the largest artery in the body, carries blood from the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, to the rest of the body. The short section that rises from the left ventricle and supplies the coronary arteries with blood is called the ascending aorta. Enlargement, or dilation, of the ascending aorta can increase the chances of a life-threatening aneurysm. Risk factors for dilation include high blood pressure, smoking and connective tissue disorders.

"Patients whose ascending aortas are more than 4 centimeters in diameter are generally considered to have dilation, which can progress over time and potentially weaken the wall of the aorta," said study author Christopher Maroules, M.D., formerly of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and current chief of cardiothoracic imaging at the Naval Medical Center in Portsmouth, Va.

For the new study, Maroules and colleagues evaluated whether past participation in the NFL is associated with increased prevalence of ascending aortic dilation. The research arose from observations made by the study's principal investigator Dermot Phelan, M.D., Ph.D., from Cleveland Clinic, who has worked closely over the years with the NFL, studying the cardiovascular health of retired players.

The researchers compared 206 former NFL athletes with 759 men from the Dallas Heart Study who were older than age 40 with a body mass index greater than 20. They obtained imaging data using cardiac gated non-contrast computed tomography (CT) scan, a technique that allowed them to "freeze" the motion of the heart by synchronizing the CT to the electrocardiogram. They also obtained coronary artery calcium scores, a measure of atherosclerotic plaque.

Compared to the control group, former NFL athletes had significantly larger ascending aortic diameters. Almost 30 percent of the former NFL players had an aorta wider than 4 centimeters, compared with only 8.6 percent of the non-players. Even after adjusting for age, body mass and cardiac risk factors, former NFL players were still twice as likely as the control group to have an aorta wider than 4 centimeters.

The coronary artery calcium scores were similar in both groups.

"In former NFL athletes, there was a significantly higher proportion of aortic dilation compared to our control group," said Maroules. "This process is likely not associated with atherosclerosis cardiovascular disease, because when we compared coronary calcium we found no significant difference between the two groups."

The results suggest that some type of remodeling process occurs in the aorta of athletes who engage in repeated strenuous exercise, according to Maroules.

"It remains to be seen if this remodeling sets athletes up for problems later in life," he said. "We're just scratching the surface of this intriguing field, and imaging can play an important role in it."

Other co-authors are David Carruthers, M.D., Parag Joshi, M.D., Colby Ayers, M.S., James Gentry, M.D., Rory Hachamoitch, M.D., and Andrew Lincoln, M.D.

For more information: www.rsna.org

Key RSNA 2017 Study Presentations, Trends and Video

 

Related Content

Early diagnosis of cancer is one of the highest-priority problem for the healthcare system, because it is critical for overall treatment success and saving patients' lives. Diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) may be used to detect a malignancy in various tissues and organs. It has the advantage of providing insight into the diffusion of water molecules in body tissues without exposing patients to radiation.

DWI of the phantom with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) solutions (b value 500 s/mm2). Image courtesy of Kristina Sergunova et al.

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | June 02, 2020
June 2, 2020 — Early diagnosis of cancer is one of the highest-priority problem for the healthcare system, because it
Nuclear Cardiology Optimistic About Return to Pre-COVID-19 Exam Levels. An American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) member survey are confident nuclear cardiology volumes will return to pre-pandemic levels. #COVID19 #SARScov2
News | Nuclear Imaging | June 01, 2020
June 1, 2020 — While acknowledging the challenges their specialty is facing, more than two-thirds of respondents to a
Largest case series (n=30) to date yields high frequency (77%) of negative chest CT findings among pediatric patients (10 months-18 years) with COVID-19, while also suggesting common findings in subset of children with positive CT findings

A and B, Unenhanced chest CT scans show minimal GGOs (right lower and left upper lobes) (arrows) and no consolidation. Only two lobes were affected, and CT findings were assigned CT severity score of 2. Image courtesy of American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | May 29, 2020
May 29, 2020 — An investigation published open-access in the ...
The Philips Lumify point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) system assessing a patient in the emergency room combined with telehealth to enable real-time collaboration with other physicians.

The Philips Lumify point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) system assessing a patient in the emergency room combined with telehealth to enable real-time collaboration with other physicians.

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020  — Philips Healthcare recently received 510(k) clearance from the U.S.
An example of DiA'a automated ejection fraction AI software on the GE vScan POCUS system at RSNA 2019.

An example of DiA'a automated ejection fraction AI software on the GE vScan POCUS system at RSNA 2019. Photo by Dave Fornell.

News | Ultrasound Imaging | May 26, 2020
May 12, 2020 — DiA Imaging Analysis, a provider of AI based ultrasound analysis solutions, said it received a governm
a Schematic of the system. The entire solid tumour is illuminated from four sides by a four-arm fibre bundle. A cylindrically focused linear array is designed to detect optoacoustic signals from the tumour. In vivo imaging is performed in conical scanning geometry by controlling the rotation and translation stages. The sensing part of the transducer array and the tumour are submerged in water to provide acoustic coupling. b Maximum intensity projections of the optoacoustic reconstruction of a phantom of pol

a Schematic of the system. The entire solid tumour is illuminated from four sides by a four-arm fibre bundle. A cylindrically focused linear array is designed to detect optoacoustic signals from the tumour. In vivo imaging is performed in conical scanning geometry by controlling the rotation and translation stages. The sensing part of the transducer array and the tumour are submerged in water to provide acoustic coupling. b Maximum intensity projections of the optoacoustic reconstruction of a phantom of polyethylene microspheres (diameter, 20 μm) dispersed in agar. The inset shows a zoomed-in view of the region boxed with a yellow dashed line. In addition, the yellow boxes are signal profiles along the xy and z axes across the microsphere centre, as well as the corresponding full width at half-maximum values. c Normalized absorption spectra of Hb, HbO2 and gold nanoparticles (AuNPs). The spectrum for the AuNPs was obtained using a USB4000 spectrometer (Ocean Optics, Dunedin, FL, USA), while the spectra for Hb and HbO2 were taken from http://omlc.org/spectra/haemoglobin/index.html. The vertical dashed lines indicate the five wavelengths used to stimulate the three absorbers: 710, 750, 780, 810 and 850 nm. Optoacoustic signals were filtered into a low-frequency band (red) and high-frequency band (green), which were used to reconstruct separate images.

News | Breast Imaging | May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020 — Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women.
A new technique developed by researchers at UC Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The team created a probe that generates two magnetic resonance signals that suppress each other until they reach the target, at which point they both increase contrast between the tumor and surrounding tissue

A new technique developed by researchers at UC Davis offers a significant advance in using magnetic resonance imaging to pick out even very small tumors from normal tissue. The team created a probe that generates two magnetic resonance signals that suppress each other until they reach the target, at which point they both increase contrast between the tumor and surrounding tissue. Image courtesy of Xiandoing Xue, UC Davis

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020 — Researchers at the University of California, Davis offers a...
Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have surveyed the amount of gadolinium found in river water in Tokyo. Gadolinium is contained in contrast agents given to patients undergoing medical magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and it has been shown in labs to become toxic when exposed to ultraviolet rays. The researchers found significantly elevated levels, particularly near water treatment plants, highlighting the need for new public policy and removal technologies as MRI become even more commonp

Samples were taken along rivers around Tokyo. Measurements of rare earth element quantities indicate a clearly elevated amount of gadolinium compared to that in natural shale. Graphics courtesy of Tokyo Metropolitan University

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | May 26, 2020
May 26, 2020 — Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan...
Remote reading of imaging studies on home picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) workstations can contribute to social distancing, protect vulnerable radiologists and others in the hospital, and ensure seamless interpretation capabilities in emergency scenarios, according to an open-access article published ahead-of-print by the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR).

Srini Tridandapani, M.D., Ph.D.

News | PACS | May 21, 2020
May 21, 2020 —