Aortic dissection

Aortic aneurysm - dissecting; Chest pain - aortic dissection; Thoracic aortic aneurysm - dissection

Aortic dissection is a serious condition in which there is a tear in the wall of the major artery carrying blood out of the heart (aorta). As the tear extends along the wall of the aorta, blood can flow in between the layers of the blood vessel wall (dissection). This can lead to aortic rupture or decreased blood flow (ischemia) to organs.

Aortic rupture, chest X-ray

Aortic rupture (a tear in the aorta, which is the major artery coming from the heart) can be seen on a chest X-ray. In this case, it was caused by a traumatic perforation of the thoracic aorta. This is how the X-ray appears when the chest is full of blood (right-sided hemothorax) seen here as cloudiness on the left side of the picture.

Aortic aneurysm

Abdominal aortic aneurysm involves a widening, stretching, or ballooning of the aorta. There are several causes of abdominal aortic aneurysm, but the most common results from atherosclerotic disease. As the aorta gets progressively larger over time there is increased chance of rupture.

Aortic dissection

Aortic dissection is a condition in which there is bleeding into and along the wall of the aorta (the major artery from the heart). This most often occurs because of a tear or damage to the inner wall of the artery. Although aortic dissection can affect anybody, it is most often seen in men 40 to 70 years old. Symptoms usually begin suddenly and require prompt medical attention.

Causes

Symptoms

Exams and Tests

Treatment

Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Prevention