Aortic rupture in mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes

Stacey H.K. Tay, Douglas R. Nordli, Eduardo Bonilla, Edward Null, Sara Monaco, Michio Hirano, Salvatore DiMauro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: Microangiopathy has been well described in the brain and muscle of patients with mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes (MELAS). Objective: To describe a patient with the common A3243G/MELAS point mutation who had aortic rupture and whose mother also died of large vessel rupture. Design: Case report. Setting: Collaboration between a primary care hospital and 2 academic tertiary care hospitals. Results: Histologically, there was marked disarray of the smooth muscle architecture of the aorta, and immunohistochemical staining with antibodies against the mitochondrial DNA-encoded cytochrome-C oxidase I subunit showed uniformly decreased immunostaining of the endothelial and smooth muscle cells of the aorta and vasa vasorum. Polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis showed that the mutation load was 40.5% in blood but 85.3% in the blood vessels. Conclusions: The severe vasculopathy in this patient is probably directly related to the high mutation load in the blood vessels. Although aortic rupture is an unusual manifestation of MELAS, it is an important potential complication in patients undergoing minor surgical procedures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-283
Number of pages3
JournalArchives of Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Aortic rupture in mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this