Aortic unfolding

Aortic unfolding is an old term that is to describe 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. Michael O'Rourke, Alan , John O'Rourke J Am Coll Cardiol Img, 2008; 1:749-751, doi:10.1016/j.jcmg.2008.08.002
  2. Jun Sugawara Age-Associated Elongation of the Ascending Aorta in Adults J Am Coll Cardiol Img, 2008; 1:739-748, doi:10.1016/j.jcmg.2008.06.010
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