An aortic dissection is a serious life threatening condition in which the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off the heart, tears and splits open.


  • High blood pressure
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Smoking
  • Genetic conditions eg Marfan syndrome
  • Injury
  • Aortic valve defect
  • Idiopathic(Unknown)


Similar to other heart problems. Hence it is sometimes diagnosed late.

  • 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.
  • Sudden severe abdominal pain.
  • 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 or thigh compared with the other.
  • Leg pain.
  • Difficulty walking.
  • Leg paralysis.


  • A portion of the affected aorta is detected in an ECHO scan of an ultrasound scan done suspecting other diagnoses. This leads to a more definitive investigation called a CT scan(angiogram).

  • CT angiogram helps to confirm the diagnosis and helps to decide the therapy needed based on the extent of the disease.



To reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure, which can prevent the aortic dissection from worsening. Most patients require medications only.


Surgeons remove as much of the dissected aorta as possible, block the entry of blood into the aortic wall and reconstruct the aorta with a synthetic tube called a graft.


Minimally invasive method

A small surgical cut in the groin of a small hole based treatment

  • A device called stent-graft made of a fabric-covered metal mesh is used to fix or “re-line” the aorta.
  • It avoids blood flow to the diseased aorta and helps to keep it open and allows blood to flow properly to the rest of the body.


  • Control blood pressure
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Maintain an ideal weight…
  • Wear a seat belt. This reduces the risk of traumatic injury to your chest area.
  • Consult your doctor if your immediate family member has suffered an aortic dissection and a genetic cause is suspected.