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, ripping or shearing sensation, that radiates to the neck or down the back
- Loss of consciousness
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden difficulty speaking, loss of vision, weakness or paralysis of one side of your body, similar to those of a stroke
- Weak pulse in one arm compared with the other
When to see a doctor
If you have signs or symptoms such as severe chest pain, fainting, sudden onset of shortness of breath or symptoms of a stroke, call 911 or emergency medical assistance. These signs and symptoms don't always indicate a serious problem, but it's best to get checked quickly. Early detection and treatment may help save your life.
Oct. 28, 2014
- 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.