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On the association between abdominal aorta and basilar artery diameters: a population-based study in community-dwelling older adults

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Information on the relationship between the diameters of the abdominal aorta (AA) and the basilar artery (BA) is limited. Using the Atahualpa Project cohort, we aimed to assess this association in Atahualpa residents aged ≥ 60 years.

Materials and methods

Atahualpa residents aged ≥ 60 years underwent abdominal ultrasound and MRA of intracranial vessels. The independent association between both arterial diameters was estimated in a generalized linear model adjusted for demographics, cardiovascular risk factors, the presence of a fetal-type Circle of Willis, and severity of white matter hyperintensities. Fractional polynomials were fitted to model the relationship between AA and BA diameters.


The mean age of 277 participants was 69.5 ± 7.7 years (61% women). The mean AA diameter was 19.8 ± 3.3 mm, and the mean BA diameter was 3.1 ± 0.7 mm. The mean diameters of both arteries were significantly higher in men than in women. Locally weighted scatterplot smoothing showed a non-linear relationship between both arterial diameters. Fractional polynomial models showed that AA and BA diameters had a significant non-linear association in men (p = 0.005), but not in women (p = 0.315). When sex was excluded from a generalized linear model, the relationship between both arterial diameters became significant (p = 0.017).


In this population of community-dwelling older adults, the relationship between AA and BA diameters was confined to men. The finding of a large AA diameter in men should prompt the investigation of the intracranial vasculature because of the possibility of BA ectasia.



Esistono pochi dati relativi alla relazione tra i diametri dell’aorta addominale (AA) e dell’arteria basilare (BA). Utilizzando la coorte di pazienti del Progetto Atahualpa, è stata valutata questa associazione nei soggetti di Atahualpa di età ≥ 60 anni.

Materiale e metodi

I residenti di Atahualpa di età ≥ 60 anni sono stati sottoposti ad ecografia addominale e angiografia MR dei vasi intracranici. L’associazione indipendente tra entrambi i diametri arteriosi è stata stimata in un modello lineare generalizzato aggiustato per dati demografici, fattori di rischio cardiovascolare, presenza di un circolo di Willis di tipo fetale e gravità delle iperintensità della sostanza bianca. Polinomi frazionari sono stati adattati per modellare la relazione tra i diametri di AA e BA.


L’età media dei 277 partecipanti era 69,5 ± 7,7 anni (61% donne). Il i diametro medio dell’AA era di 19,8 ± 3,3 mm e il diametro medio della BA di 3,1 ± 0,7 mm. Il diametro medio di entrambe le arterie era significativamente più alto negli uomini che nelle donne. Il livellamento dello scatter plot con ponderazione locale ha mostrato una relazione non lineare tra i diametri delle due arterie. I modelli polinomiali frazionari hanno dimostrato che i diametri AA e BA avevano un’associazione non lineare significativa negli uomini (p = 0005), ma non nelle donne (p = 0315). Quando il sesso è stato escluso dal modello lineare generalizzato, la relazione tra i due diametri arteriosi è risultata significativa (p = 0017).


In questa popolazione di adulti che vivono in comunità, la relazione tra i diametri di AA e BA è limitata agli uomini. Il ritrovamento di un grande diametro AA negli uomini dovrebbe sollecitare ad indagare il sistema vascolare intracranico a causa della possibilità di ectasia della BA.

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Fig. 1


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Study supported by Universidad Espíritu Santo—Ecuador.

Author information

Correspondence to Oscar H. Del Brutto.

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The authors report that they have no conflict of interest to disclose.

Ethical standards

The study was conducted in accordance with the Helsinki Declaration. The Institutional Review Board of Hospital-Clínica Kennedy, Guayaquil (FWA 00006867) approved the study.

Informed consent

All participants signed the written informed consent form before enrollment.

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Del Brutto, O.H., Matcha, G., Mera, R.M. et al. On the association between abdominal aorta and basilar artery diameters: a population-based study in community-dwelling older adults. J Ultrasound 23, 31–35 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40477-018-0338-x

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  • Basilar artery
  • Abdominal aorta
  • Arterial diameters
  • Population-based study