Aortic Dissections - Causes and Treatments

The Society of Thoracic Surgeons:


When aortic dissection is suspected based on your history and physical exam, time is of the essence. You usually will be sent for an emergent computed tomography (CT) scan with intravenous contrast (a dye injected via a vein) so that doctors can look at blood flow in your aorta.

If an aortic dissection is present, the CT scan will show blood flowing in the false channel and may show the part(s) of the aorta that is involved in the dissection. If you can’t get a CT scan, a transesophageal echocardiogram, where the ultrasound probe is placed in the esophagus behind the heart and aorta, sometimes is performed to look for the dissection in the ascending or descending thoracic aorta.

What are treatment options?

  • Emergency Surgery

  • Medication

  • Thoracic Endovascular Aortic Repair (TEVAR)

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Gregg Greenberg