Aortitis is inflammation of the aorta, sometimes causing aneurysm or occlusion.
Aortitis is caused by several connective tissue disorders (eg, Takayasu's arteritis, temporal arteritis, ankylosing spondylitis, relapsing polychondritis) and infections (eg, bacterial endocarditis, syphilis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, fungal infections). It is also a feature of Cogan's syndrome (inflammatory keratitis, vestibular and auditory dysfunction, and aortitis).
Inflammation usually involves all layers of the aorta (intima, media, adventitia) and may lead to occlusion of the aorta or its branches or weakening of the arterial wall, resulting in aneurysms. Pathogenesis, symptoms and signs, diagnosis, and treatment differ by etiology.
Last full review/revision January 2008 by John W. Hallett, Jr., MD