What is an aortic dissection?
The aorta carries blood from your heart to your entire body, it is made up of three layers.
An aortic dissection is a tear that occurs between the inner and middle layers of the aorta. It occurs in approximately three out of 100,000 people per year, and both men and women are affected equally.
When an aortic dissection occurs, it can compromise blood flow to vital organs such as the kidneys, liver, intestines, and lower extremities. This lack of blood supply to organs can cause kidney failure, paralysis, and loss of circulation in the legs.
On the other hand, an aortic dissection can cause a rupture of this vessel that can lead to life-threatening bleeding.
Aortic Dissection Symptoms
The main symptoms are chest pain and back pain, and you have to go to a hospital immediately.
Most chest and back pain is not always a dissection but this condition can be so serious that it can lead to extreme illness and death.
The main causes are high blood pressure, tobacco, some connective tissue diseases, and the use of drugs such as cocaine.
To reduce the risk of aortic dissection, it is important to check your blood pressure frequently; if you have high blood pressure, follow your doctor’s instructions to control it and avoid smoking and using recreational drugs.
Its diagnosis is performed with different imaging modalities such as a cardiac ultrasound, an MRI, or a CT angiography. The latter is the gold standard.
Aortic dissection treatment
A type A dissection, where the rupture occurs in the ascending aorta, is considered a medical emergency and treatment is usually surgery, involving a sternotomy to repair or replace the affected segment of the aorta.
A type B dissection occurs in the descending thoracic aorta, generally distal to the origin of the left subclavian artery.
This dissection may or may not cause symptoms and does not always require immediate treatment except risk factors control.
On some occasions, this dissection can lead to abnormal growth of the aorta causing an aneurysm that requires surgical treatment.
At ABC Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Center, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!
Dr. Salomón Cohen Mussali – Vascular and Endovascular Surgery specialist at ABC Medical Center.