ANN ARBOR, Mich. The most lethal and sudden cardiovascular event can be the toughest for doctors to diagnose.
But a study by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center shows new guidelines are effective for determining who's most likely suffering from an aortic dissection, which is tearing in the lining of the body's largest blood vessel.
Aortic dissection lead to the sudden death of award-winning TV actor John Ritter in 2003, and brought the world's attention to a heart condition that few survive.
The U-M study shows that with the help of an aortic dissection detection risk score, generated by a simple, bedside screening tool, doctors can usually identify signs or symptoms of acute aortic dissection, which include abrupt, intense pain.
The study was published online ahead of print May 24 in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.
"The results from this study suggest that the risk score, with the use of only information that is available at the bedside, can identify the vast majority of patients presenting with acute aortic dissection," says study senior author and cardiologist Kim A. Eagle, M.D., a director of the U-M Cardiovascular Center.
Nearly 10,000 Americans suffer aortic dissections each year, and nearly one in three dies before leaving the hospital despite recent advances in diagnostic tools and surgical treatment.
The U-M is the coordinating center for the largest-ever study of aortic dissection patients and the study results were compiled from the International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissection.
Of the 2,538 IRAD patients examined, 95 percent had one or more of the 12 proposed clinical risk markers and 86 percent had at least two of the risk markers.
Patients with acute aortic dissection frequently had an abrupt onset of pain, severe intensity of pain and pain described as ripping or tearing, according to the study.
|Contact: Shantell M. Kirkendoll|
University of Michigan Health System