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aortic dissection: red flags for emergency triage staff

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An aortic dissection is a tear in the inner layer of the aortic wall. This tear allows blood to enter and separate the inner and outer layers of the vessel. Approximately 10,000 people experience aortic dissections annually, so it is likely that emergency first responders will encounter this condition. 50% of patients with undiagnosed aortic dissection die with 48 hours, a death rate of approximately 1% per hour. Dissections of the aortic root and ascending aorta require immediate surgical intervention. As a result, it is extremely important that emergency first responders are prepared to evaluate symptoms that could be related to a dissection and expedite emergency treatment.

Download the fact sheet for a brief overview of aortic dissection and its risk factors. It reviews the crucial “red flags” that should prompt immediate consideration of aortic dissection in patients with Marfan syndrome and related disorders.