Research Aneurysmatic aortic disease

The teams' focus is aneurysmatic aortic disease with focus on risk groups for development of disease and rupture.

Research focus

An aneurysm is a local dilatation of a vessel, which usually continues to dilate and eventually the vessel wall can rupture. The most common arterial aneurysm is the abdominal aortic aneurysm and the prevalence of AAA is especially high in elderly men, 1.5% of 65 year old men have AAA. The pathogenesis of this potential lethal disease is still partly unknown, as well as the contributing causes for growth and rupture. There is a gender paradox in AAA; the prevalence is lower in women, but women have a more complex aneurysm morphology, higher rupture risk and worse outcome at treatment. Our group aim at investigating influential gender differences for AAA patients, some areas of special interest are; vessel wall structure, distribution of risk factors, hereditary patterns, rupture risk and reproductive history.

The difference in occurrence of concurrent aneurysms in women and men with AAA is investigated by prospective examinations of arterial walls in patients suffering from aneurysms, and radiological attempts to improve the understanding of the distribution of the disease in cooperation with radiological expertise. The influence of hereditary patterns on the risk to develop AAA in relatives has been shown in registry-based investigations from our group, further estimations of the true risk are made in collaboration with colleagues at KI at Södersjukhuset and Sunderbyn. The regional aspects on prevalence of the disease are investigated in population based registry studies, as well as analysis on risk factor profiles in different AAA cohorts in several regions in Sweden.

Major funding and networks 

Rebecka Hultgren research is funded mainly by the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation, ALF and Karolinska Institutet Grants for clinical doctoral students (CSTP).