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Aortic Dissection

Aortic Dissection VideoThe aorta is the main blood vessel that pumps blood away from the heart to the body. Dissection involves “tearing” of the lining of the aorta. This tearing can cause weakening or even rupture of the aorta and is commonly associated with aortic aneurysm (enlargement).

Aortic Dissection can also be caused by atherosclerosis, aneurysm, trauma, genetic disorders, or inflammatory disorders.


  • Pain classically described as “tearing’ chest pain that radiates to the back
  • Can mimic symptoms of a heart attack
  • Can rarely be asymptomatic depending on location of dissection

Diagnostic Tests


  • Treatment depends on the location of the dissection.
  • Ascending dissection is best treated surgically.
  • Descending dissection is usually best treated medically with blood pressure control and statin therapy and routine monitoring.

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