Tests & Procedures > Cardiac Surgery > Emergent Aortic Dissection Repair

Emergent Aortic Dissection Repair

Aortic dissection is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. The surgeons at PinnacleHealth Cardiovascular Institute (PHCVI) are at the forefront of advanced and  life saving surgical techniques for emergency aortic dissection repair.

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What is aortic dissection?

Aortic dissection occurs when a tear in the inner wall of the aorta causes blood to flow between the layers of the wall of the aorta, forcing the layers apart. This is often characterized by a feeling of tearing in the abdomen or chest.

Patients may also experience other symptoms such as  nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, and weakness. Some patients may lose consciousness.

Who is at risk for aortic dissection?

Aortic dissection is more common in those with:
  • a history of high blood pressure
  • a known thoracic aortic aneurysm
  • conditions that affect blood vessel wall integrity such as Marfan syndrome and the vascular subtype of Ehlers–Danlos syndrome.
Diagnosis of aortic dissection is made using CT scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or echocardiography.

How is aortic dissection treated?

The treatment of aortic dissection depends on the part of the aorta involved. Surgery is usually required for dissections that involve the closer to the heart, while dissections of the part further away from the heart may be treated with blood pressure lowering only.

Surgery for aortic dissection

An aortic dissection repair involves surgically removing the largest possible area of dissected aorta, close to the false channel between the middle and outer layers of the aortic wall, and replacing it with a synthetic graft. The surgeons at PHCV perform minimally endovascular aneurysm repair