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. We have the rapid, life-saving tools needed to save patients, including Life Flight transport, a highly-efficient emergency department, and a skilled surgical team.
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
Doctors can often identify aortic dissections by symptoms of sudden severe pain in the chest, back or belly. The doctor will also order one of the imaging tests listed below to confirm the diagnosis:
Treatments for Aortic Dissection
When treating aortic dissection, there is no time to waste. After you are diagnosed, you will be rapidly treated with medications or life-saving surgery, depending on the location of your dissection.
Services and Programs
Service and programs at Intermountain Heart Institute that help patients with aortic dissection.