Emergent Aortic Dissection Repair
Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition in which the walls of the aorta separate and tear. The aorta is the main blood vessel that takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Aortic dissection can cause poor blood supply to the heart, brain, or other major organs.
Emergent treatment of aortic dissection involves rapid open-chest surgical repair when the dissection involves the portion of the ascending aorta (close to the heart).
Surgery is performed through the breastbone. The ascending aorta is removed and replaced with a man-made (synthetic) tube, or graft. The graft is made from a medical-grade cloth called Dacron that is used to replace or repair blood vessels. The surgeon applies biological glue to strengthen the layers of the vessel wall. The heart-lung machine is used during surgery to support the patient's breathing and circulation.
When the dissection involves the descending aorta (in the belly) treatment can include intensive medical management and control of blood pressure.
In certain patients with dissection of the descending thoracic aorta, there is danger of rupture or impaired blood flow to organs or to the legs. In these patients, stent-graft repair may be used to seal off the torn portion of the aorta.
Recovery after repair of aortic dissection depends on the type of procedure, the location of the dissection and the patient's other medical conditions. Most patients will require monitoring in the intensive care unit for several days and may require additional procedures.
Where is Aortic Dissection Treated?
Patients are transferred urgently to Intermountain Medical Center. Open repair of ascending aortic dissection is performed in the cardiovascular operating room (also called the CV OR) by a cardiothoracic surgeon and the cardiovascular OR team. Patients with descending aortic dissection are first admitted to the Thoracic ICU.
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Learn More About Our Center for Aortic Disease