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