SynopsisCodesDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsDrug Reaction DataReferences
Potentially life-threatening emergency
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed
Potentially life-threatening emergency


Contributors: Ryan Hoefen MD, PhD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Aortitis is a potentially life-threatening inflammation of the aorta. Causes include trauma, bacterial or viral infection, connective tissue disease, and immune disorders. Common underlying causes include syphilis, giant cell arteritis, autoimmune vasculitis, polymyalgia rheumatica, and rheumatoid arthritis. Presentation is dependent on underlying cause, but patients can present with fever, chills, fatigue, myalgia, arthralgia, hypertension, chest pain, lower limb pain, or back pain. Neurologic symptoms can arise due to decreased cerebral blood flow and include headaches, vertigo, syncope, orthostasis, and convulsions. Rarely, gas may be seen within the aorta related to gastrointestinal disease with Clostridium septicum. Management involves treating the underlying cause to stop inflammation, treating any complications, and preventing relapse.


I77.6 – Arteritis, unspecified

70933002 – Aortitis

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Aortic dissection
  • Intramural hematoma
  • Penetrating atherosclerotic ulcer
  • Giant cell arteritis
  • Takayasu arteritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tertiary syphilis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Kawasaki disease
  • Sarcoidosis

Best Tests

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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Last Updated:05/23/2022
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Potentially life-threatening emergency
A medical illustration showing key findings of Aortitis : Abdominal pain, Fever, Claudication, Low back pain, Malaise
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.