Aortic calcification in longstanding, unDx Takayasu arteriti
A 40-year-old woman presented with a 4-year history of recurrent central chest pain. The pain was unrelated to food or exertion, and occurred intermittently during both day and night. The patient had no medical history of diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolaemia or hypothyroidism. She did, however, give a history of having a prolonged fever for about 3 months accompanied by arthralgia at the age of 13 years.

She said that at the time she had extensive investigations for infections and possible malignancies—but the fever resolved gradually without any cause being identified. She said that she had had no further problems until the current complaint began 4 years ago. On clinical examination, her blood pressure was 130/90 mm Hg in both upper limbs, pulses were easily palpable, and there were no bruits or murmurs heard on auscultation.

A chest x-ray showed calcification of the wall of the aortic arch and descending thoracic aorta, with narrowing at the level of the diaphragmatic hiatus (figure). Full blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein, lipid profile, and parathyroid hormone levels were normal.

MRI angiograms revealed narrowing of the aorta in the post-subclavian area, in the descending thoracic aorta at the level of the diaphragm, and at the level just above the origin of the left renal artery (figure); T2-weighted images showed a thickened and oedematous thoracic aorta, suggesting active inflammation (figure), and a CT angiogram revealed extensive calcification (figure). Taken together these findings led to making a diagnosis of aorta arteritis type III with active disease.

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