Top of the page
Aortic dissection is a tear between the inner and outer layers of the aortic wall. The tear can cause the wall to separate and rupture, resulting in life-threatening bleeding and death.
The aorta, like all arteries, is made up of three layers, which are fused together. If the layers begin to separate, it causes bleeding into and around the tear. The bleeding widens the tear and causes the layers to separate. Typically, an aortic dissection occurs in the section of the aorta that leaves the heart and curves down through the chest.
Aortic dissection can be caused by atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and high blood pressure; traumatic injury to the chest, such as hitting the car steering wheel during an accident; and conditions that are present at birth, such as Marfan's syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.
Symptoms usually include sudden and severe chest or upper back pain, anxiety, pallor, sweating, and nausea. Aortic dissection usually requires emergency surgery to repair the tear.
Current as of: July 14, 2019
Rakesh K. Pai MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Jeffrey J. Gilbertson MD - Vascular Surgery
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Make an Appointment
Pay a Bill
For Medical Professionals
Graduate Medical Education
Nursing at WellSpan
Clinical Research Programs
Who We Are
Make a Donation
Connect With Us
Non-Discrimination Statement |
Aviso Contra la Discriminación
© WellSpan Health | Disclaimer & Policies