What is Aortic Dissection?
An aortic dissection is a condition where the layers of the walls of the aorta become separated and can tear. Bleeding can then occur within these layers. It can occur in the thoracic aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart’s left ventricle to the other arteries in the chest but can also occurs anywhere along the entire length of the aorta. Thoracic aortic dissections are particularly dangerous since they can lead to early death. A thoracic aneurysm can occur in the region between the diaphragm and the neck and is less common than an abdominal aorta, which occurs in the region between the diaphragm and the groin. An aneurysm is a bulge or outpouching of the walls of the aorta, which can lead to weakening of the aorta and promote aortic dissection.
Because the walls of the aorta repeatedly expand and contract with the flow of blood, an aortic dissection can grow in size over a short period of time. This can lead to blockage of blood flow to vital parts of the body or significant internal bleeding. Aortic aneurysms can grow in size over a longer period of time, and the larger they become, the more vulnerable they are to dissection and rupture.
Treatments at Florida Hospital
Treatments for an aortic dissection vary according to the location of the dissection and whether a preexisting aneurysm is present. In general, thoracic aortic dissections usually require emergent chest surgery to repair the tear in the aortic wall. Some abdominal aortic dissections can be managed with medication but some may require surgery especially if there is compromised blood flow to other body organs. Your Florida Hospital physician will evaluate your condition and recommend the best course of treatment.