An aortic dissection occurs in a weakened area of the aortic wall. Chronic high blood pressure may stress the aortic tissue, making it more susceptible to tearing. You can also be born with a condition associated with a weakened and enlarged aorta, such as Marfan syndrome or bicuspid aortic valve. Rarely, aortic dissections may be caused by traumatic injury to the chest area, such as during motor vehicle accidents.
Aortic dissections are divided into two groups, depending on which part of the aorta is affected:
Nov. 11, 2011
- Type A. This is the more common and dangerous type of aortic dissection. It involves a tear in the part of the aorta just where it exits the heart or a tear extending from the upper to lower parts of the aorta, which may extend into the abdomen.
- Type B. This type involves a tear in the lower aorta only, which may also extend into the abdomen.
- Braverman AC, et al. Diseases of the aorta. In: Bonow RO, et al. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4377-0398-6..C2009-0-59734-6--TOP&isbn=978-1-4377-0398-6&about=true&uniqId=236798031-10. Accessed Sept. 15, 2011.
- Ankel F. Aortic dissection. In: Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Sept. 15, 2011.
- Manning WJ. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of aortic dissection. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 15, 2011.
- Manning WJ. Management of aortic dissection. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 15, 2011.
- Prevention: What you can do. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/what_you_can_do.htm. Accessed Sept. 15, 2011.
- Loeys-Dietz syndrome. Johns Hopkins Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/conditions_treatments/conditions/loeys_dietz.html. Accessed Oct. 4, 2011.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.