Risk factors for aortic dissection include:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
- Weakened and bulging artery (pre-existing aortic aneurysm)
- An aortic valve defect (bicuspid aortic valve)
- A narrowing of the aorta at birth (aortic coarctation)
Certain genetic diseases increase the risk of having an aortic dissection, including:
- Turner's syndrome. High blood pressure, heart problems and a number of other health conditions may result from this disorder.
- Marfan syndrome. This is a condition in which connective tissue, which supports various structures in the body, is weak. People with this disorder often have a family history of aneurysms of the aorta and other blood vessels.
- Other connective tissue disorders. This includes Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a group of connective tissue disorders characterized by skin that bruises or tears easily, loose joints and fragile blood vessels and Loeys-Dietz syndrome, with twisted arteries, especially in the neck.
- Inflammatory or infectious conditions. These may include giant cell arteritis, which is an inflammation of the arteries, and syphilis, a sexually transmitted infection.
Other potential risk factors include:
Oct. 28, 2014
- Sex. Men have about double the incidence of aortic dissection.
- Age. The incidence of aortic dissection peaks in the 60s and 80s.
- Cocaine use. This drug may be a risk factor for aortic dissection because it temporarily raises blood pressure.
- Pregnancy. Infrequently, aortic dissections occur in otherwise healthy women during pregnancy.
- High-intensity weightlifting. This and other strenuous resistance training may increase risk of aortic dissection by increasing blood pressure during the activity.
- Manning WJ. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of aortic dissection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 8, 2014.
- Manning WJ. Management of aortic dissection. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 8, 2014.
- AskMayoExpert. Thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2014.
- JCS Joint Working Group. Guidelines for diagnosis and treatment of aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection. Circulation Journal. 2013;77:789.
- Prevention: What you can do. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/what_you_can_do.htm. Accessed Sept. 8, 2014.