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Simple new bedside screening effectively identifies patients with acute aortic dissection
Date:5/15/2011

logy and cardiology experts helped the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and other professional societies create the 2010 thoracic aortic disease guidelines.

The ADD risk score was created from these guidelines to provide doctors with a fast, simple and systematic method for screening large volumes of patients at the bedside.

"Because of its symptoms, aortic dissection is often mistaken for other cardiovascular conditions," says study co-author Adam M. Rogers, M.D., also of U-M.

Those who have lived through aortic dissection describe it as the most painful thing that ever happened to them. Blood, surging from the heart into the main artery, forces open a tiny rip in the aorta's lining that grows and threatens to burst like a dam in a flood.

While tears in the lining of the body's largest blood vessel are rare, occurring in 5,000 to 10,000 patients a year, they have long been known to be deadly. Without emergency attention and treatment and even, often with it the torn lining can continue to rip, block blood flow to key arteries in the body, cause the heart to fail, or make the aorta swell into an aneurysm or rupture entirely.

Aortic dissections are the leading cause of death among people with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that weakens the aorta.

Also at risk are people with other heart valve and aorta problems, high blood pressure, or a family history of aortic dissections. Some people with aortic dissection can achieve a stable state with their condition, at least for a while, but most cases are acute and must be treated quickly.

Aortic dissection's symptoms often mimic those of other cardiovascular conditions resulting in delayed diagnosis. Symptoms include instantaneous onset of severe chest or back pain, sharp drops in blood pressure, altered consciousness, and even limb paralysis.

Only when patients reach an emergency room and undergo tests and scans can the
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Contact: Shantell M. Kirkendoll
smkirk@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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