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The goal of the Aortic Program at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute is to provide rapid and accurate diagnosis and treatment for patients presenting with acute aortic syndrome.  If patients survive acute presentation, within three to five years, 30% will develop complications and require close follow-up. 

Early diagnosis is essential for survival and management is challenging though greater awareness of the syndrome and improving management strategies are improving patient outcomes.The term “acute aortic syndrome” refers to a variety of acute painful and potential life-threatening aortic pathologies that require immediate medical attention. Acute aortic syndrome includes aortic dissection, aortic ulcer, intramural hematoma and unstable or painful thoracic aortic aneurysm.

The symptoms may be very similar to an acute coronary syndrome – chest pain associated with acute blockage of the coronary arteries. However, acute aortic syndrome is life threatening and about hundred times more deadly than acute myocardial infarction. If untreated,  mortality ranges from up to 1 percent per hour for the first two days. The rate may be reduced when the pathology is diagnosed promptly and treated by experienced physicians, such as those at the Aortic Program. Misdiagnosis is estimated at 39 percent and is associated with delays in correct diagnosis and improper treatment with blood-thinner medication producing increased bleeding and extended hospital stays1.

 

1 Hansen MS, Nogareda GJ, Hutchison SJ."Frequency of and inappropriate treatment of misdiagnosis of acute aortic dissection". Am. J. Cardiol. 2007. 99 (6): 852–6.

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