Aortic dissection history and symptoms

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Aortic dissection Microchapters


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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor-In-Chief: Cafer Zorkun, M.D., Ph.D. [2], Sahar Memar Montazerin, M.D.[3]


History of patients with aortic dissection may be positive for factors such as connective tissue disease, known aortic valve disease, recent heart surgery, Known thoracic aortic aneurysm, and family history of the aortic disease. Sudden onset chest/back pain is the most common symptom of aortic dissection. Pain may be of sharp, ripping, tearing, and knife-like quality.

History and Symptoms


History of patients with aortic dissection may include the following factors:[1]

Common Symptoms

Common symptoms of aortic dissection include:[2][3][4][5]

Less Common Symptoms

Less common symptoms of aortic dissection include:[1]

History and Symptoms Associated with High Pretest Probability of Aortic Dissection[1]

  • Chest, back, or abdominal pain with at least one of the following features:
    • Abrupt onset
    • Severe intensity
    • Ripping or tearing

2014 ESC Guidelines on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Aortic Diseases[1]

Clinical Assessment of Patients Suspicious of Aortic Dissection[1]

Class I
"In all patients with suspected AAS, pre-test probability assessment is recommended, according to the patient’s condition, symptoms, and clinical features.[6](Level of Evidence: B)"

2010 ACCF/AHA/AATS/ACR/ASA/SCA/SCAI/SIR/STS/SVM Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients with Thoracic Aortic Disease (DO NOT EDIT)[7]

History and Physical Examination for Thoracic Aortic Disease (DO NOT EDIT)[7]

Class I
"1. For patients presenting with a history of acute cardiac and noncardiac symptoms associated with a significant likelihood of thoracic aortic disease, the clinician should perform a focused physical examination, including a careful and complete search for arterial perfusion differentials in both upper and lower extremities, evidence of visceral ischemia, focal neurological deficits, a murmur of aortic regurgitation, bruits, and findings compatible with possible cardiac tamponade.[8][9][10] (Level of Evidence: C)"


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Erbel R, Aboyans V, Boileau C, Bossone E, Bartolomeo RD, Eggebrecht H, Evangelista A, Falk V, Frank H, Gaemperli O, Grabenwöger M, Haverich A, Iung B, Manolis AJ, Meijboom F, Nienaber CA, Roffi M, Rousseau H, Sechtem U, Sirnes PA, Allmen RS, Vrints CJ (November 2014). "2014 ESC Guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of aortic diseases: Document covering acute and chronic aortic diseases of the thoracic and abdominal aorta of the adult. The Task Force for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Aortic Diseases of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC)". Eur. Heart J. 35 (41): 2873–926. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehu281. PMID 25173340.
  2. Hagan, Peter G.; Nienaber, Christoph A.; Isselbacher, Eric M.; Bruckman, David; Karavite, Dean J.; Russman, Pamela L.; Evangelista, Arturo; Fattori, Rossella; Suzuki, Toru; Oh, Jae K.; Moore, Andrew G.; Malouf, Joseph F.; Pape, Linda A.; Gaca, Charlene; Sechtem, Udo; Lenferink, Suzanne; Deutsch, Hans Josef; Diedrichs, Holger; Marcos y Robles, Jose; Llovet, Alfredo; Gilon, Dan; Das, Sugata K.; Armstrong, William F.; Deeb, G. Michael; Eagle, Kim A. (2000). "The International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissection (IRAD)". JAMA. 283 (7): 897. doi:10.1001/jama.283.7.897. ISSN 0098-7484.
  3. "Correspondence". The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. 67 (2): 593. 1999. doi:10.1016/S0003-4975(99)00037-5. ISSN 0003-4975.
  4. Trimarchi S, Tolenaar JL, Tsai TT, Froehlich J, Pegorer M, Upchurch GR, Fattori R, Sundt TM, Isselbacher EM, Nienaber CA, Rampoldi V, Eagle KA (April 2012). "Influence of clinical presentation on the outcome of acute B aortic dissection: evidences from IRAD". J Cardiovasc Surg (Torino). 53 (2): 161–8. PMID 22456637.
  5. Klompas M (May 2002). "Does this patient have an acute thoracic aortic dissection?". JAMA. 287 (17): 2262–72. doi:10.1001/jama.287.17.2262. PMID 11980527.
  6. Evangelista, Arturo; Isselbacher, Eric M.; Bossone, Eduardo; Gleason, Thomas G.; Eusanio, Marco Di; Sechtem, Udo; Ehrlich, Marek P.; Trimarchi, Santi; Braverman, Alan C.; Myrmel, Truls; Harris, Kevin M.; Hutchinson, Stuart; O’Gara, Patrick; Suzuki, Toru; Nienaber, Christoph A.; Eagle, Kim A. (2018). "Insights From the International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissection". Circulation. 137 (17): 1846–1860. doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.031264. ISSN 0009-7322.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Hiratzka LF, Bakris GL, Beckman JA, Bersin RM, Carr VF, Casey DE; et al. (2010). "2010 ACCF/AHA/AATS/ACR/ASA/SCA/SCAI/SIR/STS/SVM guidelines for the diagnosis and management of patients with Thoracic Aortic Disease: a report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines, American Association for Thoracic Surgery, American College of Radiology, American Stroke Association, Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Society of Interventional Radiology, Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and Society for Vascular Medicine". Circulation. 121 (13): e266–369. doi:10.1161/CIR.0b013e3181d4739e. PMID 20233780.
  8. Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, et al. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 18th ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Health Sciences, 2008.
  9. Libby P, Bonow RO, Mann DL, et al. Braunwald’s Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia: 2007.
  10. Isselbacher E. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia: Elsevier Health Sciences, 2008.