Radiographic features of aortic bulb/valve mineralization in 20 dogs

Douglass JP, Berry CR, Thrall DE, et al.

Vet Radiol Ultrasound 2003;44:20-27.

The radiographic features of aortic bulb/valve mineralization in 20 dogs were reviewed. Extent, shape, number, and location of mineralization were recorded. Five of the dogs had additional alternate imaging examinations, including bone scintigraphy, echocardiography, and thoracic computed tomography. A necropsy was done on one dog, and the area of mineralization was evaluated using routine histology. The median age was 10 (mean 9.7; SD +/- 2.7) years. There were five males, seven neutered males, one female, and seven neutered females. The breeds were: Irish setter (6); rottweiler (7); chow-chow (1); miniature dachshund (1); borzoi (1); English setter (1); English springer spaniel (1); great Dane (1); and greyhound (1). Dogs with both right and left lateral radiographs (n = 17) had mineralization visible on both views, more conspicuously on the right lateral radiograph (n = 12). Aortic bulb mineralization was identified on the ventrodorsal radiograph of only one dog. On lateral radiographs, the aortic bulb mineralization was localized within the 4th intercostal space and in the craniodorsal quadrant of the cardiac silhouette. In nine of the dogs, there were complex or multiple mineralizations and in 11 dogs, there was a single curvilinear mineral opacity oriented in a caudoventral to craniodorsal direction. In all radiographs, the mineralization was in the expected position of the aortic bulb, and echocardiography (n = 4), spiral computed tomography (n = 2), and necropsy (n = 1) confirmed that the mineralization was within the aortic bulb. Clinical pathologic data of the dogs suggested no reason for metastatic mineralization. Exact etiopathogenesis of the lesions were not determined in this study. Based on the histologic findings in one dog, the mineralization seen in the aortic root is similar to a form of dystrophic mineralization called Monckeberg’s calcific arteriosclerosis in humans. No clinical signs attributable to the mineralization were observed.