Hemodynamic abnormalities in the aorta of Turner syndrome girls

Johnston, Lauren and Allen, Ruth and Hall Barrientos, Pauline and Mason, Avril and Kazakidi, Asimina (2021) Hemodynamic abnormalities in the aorta of Turner syndrome girls. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine, 8. 670841. ISSN 2297-055X (https://doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2021.670841)

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Congenital abnormalities in girls and women with Turner syndrome (TS), alongside an underlying predisposition to obesity and hypertension, contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and ultimately reduced life expectancy. We observe that children with TS present a greater variance in aortic arch morphology than their healthy counterparts, and hypothesise that their hemodynamics is also different. In this study, computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations were performed for four TS girls, and three age-matched healthy girls, using patient-specific inlet boundary conditions, obtained from phase-contrast MRI data. The visualisation of multidirectional blood flow revealed an increase in vortical flow in the arch, supra-aortic vessels, and descending aorta, and a correlation between the presence of aortic abnormalities and disturbed flow. Compared to the relatively homogeneous pattern of time-averaged wall shear stress (TAWSS) on the healthy aortae, a highly heterogeneous distribution with elevated TAWSS values was observed in the TS geometries. Visualisation of further shear stress parameters, such as oscillatory shear index (OSI), relative residence time (RRT), and transverse WSS (transWSS), revealed dissimilar heterogeneity in the oscillatory and multidirectional nature of the aortic flow. Taking into account the young age of our TS cohort (average age 13 ± 2 years) and their obesity level (75% were obese or overweight), which is believed to accelerate the initiation and progression of endothelial dysfunction, these findings may be an indication of atherosclerotic disease manifesting earlier in life in TS patients. Age, obesity and aortic morphology may, therefore, play a key role in assessing cardiovascular risk in TS children.