Aortic Dissection

Turn to Carondelet Medical Group for unparalleled care. Our adept doctors and surgeons diagnose and treat complex cardiac and vascular issues including aortic dissection. Trust that you are in capable and caring hands and will receive individualized attention and patient-centered care. We invite you to get in touch with us to schedule an appointment so that we can address your concerns and answer any questions.

Understanding Aortic Dissection

The aorta is a cane-shaped blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the entire body. It is over a foot long and about an inch in diameter. Thick and strong, it is composed of three layers:

  • Intima – The smooth inner layer that blood flows across.
  • Media – The elastic middle layer that enables expansion and contraction.
  • Adventitia – The supportive outer layer that offers structure.

When aortic dissection occurs, it is due to a tear in the inner layer that allows blood to burst through, thus separating the inner and middle layers. From here, it is possible for rupture to follow and cause internal bleeding. Men in their 60s or 70s are more at risk to experience aortic dissection. Although this condition is uncommon, the results could be fatal.

Symptoms of aortic dissection include:

  • Sudden, Severe Pain in the Chest or Upper Back
  • Sudden, Severe Pain in the Abdomen
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Leg Pain or Paralysis
  • Weak Pulse in an Arm or Thigh
  • Loss of Consciousness

Causes of aortic dissection include:

  • Aortic Aneurysm
  • Chronic High Blood Pressure
  • Genetic Conditions – Such as Marfan Syndrome or bicuspid aortic valve
  • Traumatic Injury

Treatment for Aortic Dissection

This life-threatening condition requires immediate treatment. There are some instances when medication can treat dissection if it takes place in the part of the aorta that descends into the abdomen. In most cases, surgery is required. During surgery, the damages section of the aorta will be removed and replaced with a graft. The aortic valve may also need to be replaced if dissection caused damage there as well. Medications such as beta blockers may be required for stabilization prior to surgery.

Contact Our Office

The knowledgeable and skilled staff at Carondelet Medical Group deliver advanced cardiac care to treat heart disease as well as conditions that cause aortic dissection. Place your confidence in our team to diagnose your condition and to provide an effective treatment plan. Schedule an appointment by contacting our office.