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Aortic dissection is a serious condition in which located in the inner layer of the aorta large blood vessels branch excessively. As a result of the fulfillment of the channel of the aorta, with blood, the disease can cause disruption of the outer wall of the aorta, and therefore, can be fatal.
Aortic dissection is a relatively rare disease, and most frequently it affects men over 60 years of age. Symptoms of the disease are often confusing, but rapid diagnosis improves the chances of the patient.
The symptoms of aortic dissection
Aortic dissection often manifests itself as many heart diseases, including myocardial infarction. We can distinguish herein symptoms such as:
- sudden and severe pain in the chest and upper back, radiating in the direction of the neck or lower back,
- loss of consciousness,
- shortness of breath and difficulty in catching the breath,
- sudden problems with speech, vision loss, weakness, paralysis of one side of the body – similar to the stroke,
- the weakening of the pulse in one arm.
Early diagnosis of symptoms saves lives, so when there are the above symptoms should immediately go to the doctor.
Aortic dissection occurs in the weakened aortic wall and is often associated with chronic high blood pressure, which can weaken the aorta tissue, which becomes much more susceptible to rupture.
The disease is quite very often connected also with Marfan syndrome, bicuspid aortic valve, or other less common conditions associated with the weakening of the walls of blood vessels. Rarely, but there are also situations in which the aortic dissection occurs as a result of trauma to the chest wall (e.g. due to a traffic accident).
Aortic dissection is divided into two types:
- Type A – more widespread and dangerous, is based on a tear in the aorta located in the heart, or abdomen.
- Type B applies only to the bottom of the aorta, which can occur in the stomach.
The risk of aortic dissection is increasing in people who have problems with:
- uncontrolled high pressure (hypertension),
- hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis),
- the weakening of the bulge and the arteries (e.g. due to abdominal aortic)
- damage to the aortic valve,
- aortic stenosis at birth,
- some genetic diseases as Turner syndrome, Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Loeys-Dietz syndrome,
- inflammations or infections e.g. syphilis or inflammation of the arteries.
Aortic dissection can lead to:
- death due to internal bleeding,
- organ damage, including problems such as kidney failure or life-threatening intestinal damage
- damage to the aortic valve or rupture of the membrane surrounding the heart.
Because the diagnosis of aortic dissection is not easy, it is necessary to go to the doctor as soon as possible, because time plays in this disease a crucial role. If there is a sudden pain in the chest, aortic dilatation seen on chest X-ray or the pressure difference between the right and left arm, the most common is the suspected aortic dissection.
For a definitive diagnosis of the disease, it is also performed transesophageal echocardiography, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging.
The disease is a medical emergency and should be treated immediately. The most commonly are used medicines and surgery, depending on the location of the threat and its severity.