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 (fainting)
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden difficulty speaking, loss of vision, weakness, or paralysis of one side of your body, such as having a stroke
- Weak pulse in one arm compared to 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. While experiencing such symptoms doesn't always mean that you have a serious problem, it's best to get checked out quickly. Early detection and treatment may help save your life.
Nov. 11, 2011
- 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.