Aortic Dissection Awareness Day

“Aortic Dissection is a tearing of the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. It is a Cardiac medical emergency, which is often fatal when missed.

With an objective of improving patient outcomes & ultimately saving lives by increasing the identification & early diagnosis of Aortic Dissection, September 19th every year is being observed as “aortic dissection awareness day”. Aortic Dissection is a tearing of the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Aortic Dissection is an emergency situation and requires immediate medical intervention as tear can compromise blood supply to vital organs like heart, brain, spinal cord, kidney and liver. If not recognized and treated immediately, the tear will go through blood vessel and it is unlikely the patient will survive. 50% untreated patients with Aortic tear die within 48 hrs.

Aortic diseases are to a great extent a disease of the elderly. However, sometimes it strikes young population as well, as seen in the case of this young man. It can happen due to uncontrolled blood pressure, trauma to chest and hereditary genetic disorders like Marfan’s Syndrome (a disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue).

Timely diagnosis (Echocardiogram, CT scan) and expertise in surgical repair can save life of many patients in these situations. Depending on location of tear in the Aorta it is classified into Type A or Type B. Patients with Type A tear should be wheeled into operation room as soon as possible. The surgery could take anywhere between 8-12 hrs. Some of these patients might also require replacement of arteries. It is to be noted that surgery on torn Aorta carries high risks and can lead to complications like brain stroke, organ failure and death.

Aortic diseases account for a significant cardiovascular morbidity and mortality worldwide. The incidence of aortic diseases in India is expected to rise with the increasing age of the population. Diagnostic evaluation of aortic disorders has improved in the last two decades, allowing earlier diagnosis and therapeutic intervention. Timely intervention on the part of this young man resulted in his survival.

Aortic Dissection survivors can lead near normal life and are usually advised to avoid smoking, and not to participate in intense sports like weightlifting etc. These patients are also on lifelong medication and they require regular follow up with CT scan. Enquiry into patient’s family history to identify genetic disorder is recommended.

At Citizens Specialty Hospitals, we look at heart care with a holistic perspective that goes beyond superior diagnostic and treatment procedures, to post-treatment management and preventive cardiology. The Citizens Heart program is powered by a group of experienced and dedicated specialists who are trained to manage diverse cardiovascular disease subsets like congenital heart disease, atrial fibrillation, and coronary artery diseases. A team of cardiac intensivists, interventional cardiologists, and cardio surgeons are available 24X7 for patient care at the hospital.