In 1882, Weigert1 demonstrated the association between tuberculosis of the vascular system and acute miliary tuberculosis. The importance of these fundamental studies on tuberculosis of the vascular system is twofold. They demonstrated the damage resulting in the blood vessels themselves and made clear an important route by which tubercle bacilli are disseminated throughout the body.
While tuberculosis of the vascular system is relatively common, tuberculosis of the aorta is still regarded as a rare condition and one that is seldom diagnosed clinically. In reviewing the literature, I have been able to find thirty-six cases, including my own, reported since 1882. The reason the condition is not recognized clinically is that it does not appear to lead to any positive diagnostic signs or symptoms. The pathology, however, as well as the mechanism of the production of the lesion, is well known.
It is generally conceded that tubercle bacilli reach the aorta
ADAMS LJ. TUBERCULOSIS OF THE AORTA: REPORT OF A CASE. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1929;44(5):711–720. doi:10.1001/archinte.1929.00140050088008
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