Intermountain Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center

(801) 507-4701Map5121 S. Cottonwood StreetMurray, UT 84107

Overview of Aortic Dissection

An aortic dissection is a life-threatening event. In this condition, the walls of the aorta tear and separate, forming a "false" channel within the aorta. This usually occurs suddenly and is associated with severe, unrelenting pain in the chest, back, or belly.

Aortic dissection can cause inadequate blood supply to the heart, brain, or other major organs. The aorta is substantially weakened and can rupture, resulting in death. A patient with aortic dissection requires immediate transfer to Intermountain Medical Center for rapid surgery and monitoring.

This image shows the aorta, the largest artery in the body that carries blood from the heart to your brain and major organs.
This images shows an aortic dissection that is thoracic (in the chest) and ascending (just above the heart). You can see the layers of the aortic wall have separated and filled with blood.

Aortic dissection is associated with and may be caused by the following conditions:


Diagnostic Tests for Aortic Dissection

Aortic dissections are usually identified by the classic symptoms of sudden severe pain in the chest, back or belly. The diagnosis is typically made by either ultrasound or CT scanning.

  • Peripheral Vascular Study

    A Peripheral Vascular Study (PVS) is an ultrasound exam that screens for problems in the vessels of the abdomen, neck, legs and arms.

  • Cardiac CT

    Cardiac CT is a test that creates a 3D image by combining x-rays of thin cross-sections of your heart (and vessels).

Treatments for Aortic Dissection

Treatment for aortic dissection depends on the location in the body and how much of the aorta is involved. If the dissection involves the portion of the aorta just above the heart, then emergency surgery is needed. All aortic dissections are life-threatening and the individual should seek medical care immediately.

Services and Programs

Service and programs at Intermountain Heart Institute that help patients with aortic dissection.

  • Center for Aortic Disease

    The Center for Aortic Disease focuses on the care of patients with aortic aneurysm and dissection using the most advanced surgeries and less invasive repairs.

Copyright © , Intermountain Healthcare, All rights reserved.