Aortic Aneurysms and Dissections
An aortic dissection is a serious condition in which a tear occurs in the inner layer of the body's main artery (aorta). Blood rushes through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to split (dissect). If the blood goes through the outside aortic wall, aortic dissection is often deadly.
ortic dissection is relatively uncommon. It usually occurs in men in their 60s and 70s. Symptoms of aortic dissection may mimic those of other diseases, often leading to delays in diagnosis. However, when an aortic dissection is detected early and treated promptly, the chance of survival greatly improves.
Aortic dissection symptoms may be similar to those of other heart problems, such as a heart attack. Typical signs and symptoms include:
- Sudden severe chest or upper back pain, often described as a tearing or ripping sensation, that spreads to the neck or down the back
- Sudden severe stomach pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Shortness of breath
- Symptoms similar to those of a stroke, including sudden vision problems, difficulty speaking, and weakness or loss of movement (paralysis) on one side of your body
- Weak pulse in one arm or thigh compared with the other
- Leg pain
- Difficulty walking