What is an aortic dissection?
An aortic dissection is the most common catastrophe of the aorta. An aortic dissection begins with a tear in the inner layer of the aortic wall of the thoracic aorta. The force of the blood entering the media causes the tear to extend. It typically extends distally (away from the heart) in the direction of blood flow but it may extend proximally (closer to the heart). When a tear occurs in the innermost layer of the aortic wall, blood is then channeled into the wall of the aorta, rather than the central lumen, separating the layers of tissues. This creates a "false lumen" and results in decreased oxygen delivery to important organs including the brain, heart, kidneys, and intestines. It also generates a weakening in the aortic wall with a potential for rupture.
Is an aortic dissection dangerous?
An aortic dissection is a life-threatening emergency. As many as 40% of people who experience aortic dissections die instantly, and the risk of death increases 1-3% every hour. Between 75-90% of patients who experience the most common type of dissections die within one week if not treated appropriately. While some types of aortic dissections do not require emergency surgery, most do. Regardless, patients with acute aortic dissections require emergency referral to a center that specializes in the treatment of aortic diseases and evaluation by a cardiovascular surgeon.
What is an enlarged aorta?
An enlarged aorta is also known as an aortic aneurysm...
What is transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI)?
TAVI also known as transcatheter aortic valve reimplantation (TAVR)...
Can I exercise if I have an enlarged aorta, aortic aneurysm, or chronic dissection?
Though some types of exercise should be avoided, exercise is generally encouraged...
Who should be screened for an aortic aneurysm?
Most people with aortic aneurysms experience no symptoms...
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