Aortic Dissection

What is aortic dissection?

An acute aortic dissection is a separation of the inner and outer layers of the aortic wall. This results in two separate channels of blood forming within the aorta. This condition represents an emergency situation and requires prompt evaluation and treatment.

Types of aortic dissection

There are two types of acute aortic dissection — Type A and Type B:

  • Type A aortic dissection – This dissection originates in the ascending aorta and may extend into the descending or abdominal aorta. Urgent surgery is needed to treat this condition.
  • Type B Aortic dissection – This dissection originates in the descending thoracic aorta and may extend to the abdominal aorta. Medical therapy is appropriate for the majority of those with this condition.

Many of the factors that are known to cause an aortic aneurysm formation may also lead to an aortic dissection.

An aortic dissection that persists for more than two weeks is classified as chronic. It is most commonly found in patients with Type B aortic dissection. If untreated, it may lead to aneurysm formation.


Endovascular Aortic and Hybrid Procedures

Endovascular repair (also called endovascular stenting) is one of the most recent advancements in aortic surgery. It is used in patients whose anatomy is "favorable"—that is, their aneurysms or dissections do not span any major arteries.


Genetics and Risk Assessment

Genetic evaluation is becoming an important part of personalized care, as many health conditions have a genetic basis and genetic test results can help to guide medical decisions. Our genetic counselors provide consultations related to cancer genetics, cardiovascular genetics and prenatal genetics.