Aortic unfolding

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Aortic unfolding is an old term that describes the radiological abnormality on chest X-ray that show widening of the mediastinum which may mimic the appearance of a thoracic aortic aneurysm.[1] With aging, the ascending portion of the thoracic aorta increases in length by approximately 12% per decade, whereas the diameter increases by just 3% per decade. This elongation causes the ascending aorta to appear as a vertical shadow on the left heart border.[2] Aortic unfolding, though not serious, should be differentiated from the more severe dissection of the aorta.


  1. ^ O'Rourke, Michael; Farnsworth, Alan; O'Rourke, John (2008). "Aortic Dimensions and Stiffness in Normal Adults". J Am Coll Cardiol Img. 1 (6): 749–751. doi:10.1016/j.jcmg.2008.08.002. 
  2. ^ Sugawara, Jun (2008). "Age-Associated Elongation of the Ascending Aorta". Adults J Am Coll Cardiol Img. 1: 739–748. doi:10.1016/j.jcmg.2008.06.010.