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Radiology Research and Practice
Volume 2011, Article ID 128353, 7 pages
Research Article

Correlation between Rotator Cuff Tears and Systemic Atherosclerotic Disease

1Department of Radiology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Room AG 278, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada M4N 3M5
2Department of Diagnostic Imaging, The Ottawa Hospital—General Campus, 501 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1H 8L6
3Department of Radiology, NYU Hospital for Joint Diseases, 6th Floor, 301 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003, USA

Received 4 July 2011; Accepted 17 August 2011

Academic Editor: Ali Guermazi

Copyright © 2011 Andrea Donovan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the association of aortic arch calcification, a surrogate marker of atherosclerosis, with rotator cuff tendinosis and tears given the hypothesis that decreased tendon vascularity is a contributing factor in the etiology of tendon degeneration. A retrospective review was performed to identify patients ages 50 to 90 years who had a shoulder MRI and a chest radiograph performed within 6 months of each other. Chest radiographs and shoulder MRIs from 120 patients were reviewed by two sets of observers blinded to the others' conclusions. Rotator cuff disease was classified as tendinosis, partial thickness tear, and full thickness tear. The presence or absence of aortic arch calcification was graded and compared with the MRI appearance of the rotator cuff. The tendon tear grading was positively correlated with patient age. However, the tendon tear grading on MRI was not significantly correlated with the aorta calcification scores on chest radiographs. Furthermore, there was no significant correlation between aorta calcification severity and tendon tear grading. In conclusion, rotator cuff tears did not significantly correlate with aortic calcification severity. This suggests that tendon ischemia may not be associated with the degree of macrovascular disease.