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Objective: Two consensus histopathological classifications for thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAAs) and inflammatory aortic diseases have been issued to facilitate clinical decision-making and inter-study comparison. However, these consensus classifications do not specifically encompass abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). Given its high prevalence and the existing profound pathophysiologic knowledge gaps, extension of the consensus classification scheme to AAAs would be highly instrumental. The aim of this study was to test the applicability of, and if necessary to adapt, the issued consensus classification schemes for AAAs. Methods: Seventy-two AAA anterolateral wall samples were collected during elective and emergency open aneurysm repair performed between 2002 and 2013. Histologic analysis (hematoxylin and eosin and Movat Pentachrome) and (semi-quantitative and qualitative) grading were performed in order to map the histological aspects of AAA. Immunohistochemistry was performed for visualization of aspects of the adaptive and innate immune system, and for a more detailed analysis of atherosclerotic lesions in AAA. Results: Because the existing consensus classification schemes do not adequately capture the aspects of AAA disease, an AAA-specific 11-point histopathological consensus classification was devised. Systematic application of this classification indicated several universal features for AAA (eg, [almost] complete elastolysis), but considerable variation for other aspects (eg, inflammation and atherosclerotic lesions). Conclusions: This first multiparameter histopathological AAA consensus classification illustrates the sharp histological contrasts between thoracic and abdominal aneurysms. The value of the proposed scoring system for AAA disease is illustrated by its discriminatory capacity to identify samples from patients with a nonclassical (genetic) variant of AAA disease.

Original publication




Journal article


JVS Vasc Sci

Publication Date





260 - 273


Abdominal aortic aneurysm, Classification, Histology, Thoracic aortic aneurysm, Vascular remodeling