How is aortic dissection treated? continued...
Initial emergency treatment
Treatment for aortic dissection should
be started immediately following the diagnosis. The goal of initial emergency
treatment is to relieve pain and to reduce the blood pressure on the dissection
(reduction of the pulsatile load). This helps prevent additional bleeding and
reduces the risk of a rupture.
Typically, you are put immediately
in an intensive care unit (ICU) or taken to the operating room. Your doctor
will continuously monitor and control your blood pressure, pulse, and heart
Treating type A dissections
Typically, the first line of treatment for type A dissections
(dissection of the aorta involving the ascending aorta) is surgery.
The goal of the operation is to prevent death due to bleeding and to
reestablish blood flow into the extremities and inner organs (if branches of
the aorta are involved in the dissection process).
open-heart procedure, your chest is opened and the surgeon removes the part of
the aorta where the tear is found. The portion of the aorta removed can be
replaced with a man-made graft. Another approach
uses a similar graft that is placed inside the aorta. In this approach the
ascending aorta is not replaced but internally reinforced.
The surgery cannot be done if you are already suffering from a
severe complication in the process of dissection, such as a stroke. In this
situation an operation would lead to severe bleeding in the brain.
Possible complications of aortic dissection and its surgery
- Kidney (renal)
- Infections in the lung and lung
- Decreased heart function and heart attack.
It is sometimes not possible to use surgery in type A
dissections. In this case, the same procedures and medicines outlined in the
initial emergency treatment section are used.
Treating type B dissections
Type B dissections
are usually treated with medicines. In rare cases, a procedure or surgery may be needed
- Your aorta has ruptured.
- You have
pain that cannot be controlled.
- Other arteries or organs are damaged.