The Thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon, 12 2 2024 Sex Differences in the Histopathology of Acute Type A Aortic Dissections. Grewal N, Dolmaci OB, Klautz RJ, Poelmann RE


 Although sex-related differences in cardiovascular surgery outcomes have increasingly garnered attention in the past decades, knowledge about sex disparities in the pathophysiology of acute type A aortic dissections (ATAADs) remains sparse. In this study, we evaluate the histopathologic and atherosclerotic lesions in female and male ATAAD patients.


 A total of 68 patients were studied: 51 ATAAD patients (mean age: 62.5 ± 10.8 years; 49% women) and 17 control patients (mean age: 63 ± 5.5 years; 53% women). Cardiovascular risk factors were assessed clinically. Intimal and medial histopathological features were systematically evaluated in all.


 Compared to the control group, all ATAAD patients showed significantly more elastic fiber pathology, mucoid extracellular matrix accumulation, smooth muscle cell nuclei loss, and overall medial degeneration (p < 0.0001). The tunica intima was significantly thinner in the ATAAD patients than in the control group (p < 0.023), with the latter exhibiting significantly more progressive atherosclerotic lesions than the former. No difference in medial vessel wall pathology was seen between female and male patients. As compared to male ATAAD patients, atherosclerotic lesions were more severe in female ATAAD patients, independent of age and the cardiovascular risk factor hypertension.


 All ATAAD patients had a significantly thinner tunica intima and significantly diseased tunica media compared to the control patients. Our results suggest that the severity of medial aortic pathology is not sex specific in ATAAD patients. Intimal differences between females and males could, however, be considered a potential risk factor for the development of an aortic dissection.

Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2024 2