Anomalies of the abdominal aorta in Williams-Beuren syndrome – another cause of arterial hypertension
Vascular disease in Williams-Beuren syndrome is based on an elastin arteriopathy which may cause stenoses in small and great vessels. This study presents the pattern of stenotic lesions of the abdominal aorta and the incidence of arterial hypertension. From 112 patients with Williams-Beuren syndrome followed since 1975, 25 patients were studied by aortography. The diameter of the thoracic aorta and the change in diameter to the iliac bifurcation were compared with normal data. Renal artery stenosis was suspected when the proximal vessel diameter was less than 50% of the distal diameter. Of the 25 patients, 20 had vascular stenosis of whom 19 patients were affected by segmental narrowing either of the thoracic aorta (n=9) or the abdominal aorta (n=7) or both (n=3). Hypoplasia of the abdominal aorta was characterised by the smallest diameters at the renal artery level and an increased diameter of the infrarenal abdominal aorta. A total of 11 patients had renal arterial stenosis, associated with narrowing of other aortic segments in 10 cases. Only one patient had a solitary stenosis of the renal artery. Arterial hypertension was diagnosed in 17 patients, 2 of them had no vascular lesions; in the remaining 15 patients stenosis was present in more than one segment (aorta 6, renal artery stenosis 1, both 8). Conclusion: narrowing of the abdominal aorta in patients with Williams-Beuren syndrome is a frequent morphological manifestation of the arteriopathy. Isolated renal arterial stenosis was rare, since it was more frequently combined with a narrowed aorta. Hypertension is a common symptom in the affected group and must be regarded as a manifestation of generalised arteriopathy rather than renal hypoperfusion.
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