Patients that suffer from an aortic dissection must receive medical care immediately because it’s known to be a serious medical condition that requires urgent diagnosis and treatment. An aortic dissection is a tear in the inner lining of the aorta and it’s classified by two types: A and B. If someone is diagnosed with a Type A aortic dissection, they will more than likely be rushed to the emergency room for surgery immediately upon receiving that diagnosis. If it’s found to be a Type B aortic dissection, there’s a good possibility that the treatment plan will be medication.
The symptoms for each type of aortic dissection are different. Someone suffering from a Type A aortic dissection will likely experience shortness of breath, sweating and pressure in the chest area that extends to other parts of the body, such as the neck, jaw and arm. Patients have reported feeling like something is tearing inside of their chest and back. These are often distinct and severe sensations.
Men are far more likely than women to experience an aortic dissection. This is especially true if they have conditions like inflammatory disease, hypertension, an aortic aneurysm or a bicuspid aortic valve. Other factors that could increase the chances of an aortic dissection is having injuries from work, sports or a vehicle crash. While these are factors the are often specific to men, women can also suffer from an aortic dissection. Women that have hypertension are more likely to experience an aortic dissection.
Given the distinctive nature of the symptoms, if a patient arrives at a hospital and communicates that they are having pain in the chest that feels like it’s also in their back, medical personnel is likely to suspect an aortic dissection. This means the nursing staff, doctors and other medical professionals must have the training required to understand the symptoms of an aortic dissection and take the necessary steps to both diagnose and treat the problem with the appropriate level of urgency.
Another example of a situation that would warrant immediate treatment that involves the aorta is a patient that has a pulsatile abdominal mass because it’s often a symptom of an abdominal aortic aneurysm that has ruptured. The visible sign is a dilated vessel wall. The reason why the condition presents as such is because the aorta extends from the artery to the upper chamber of the heart and leads down to the abdomen.
Medical personnel have the knowledge of anatomy and the experience required to understand these types of emergency conditions. They also have the technology required to ascertain what’s happening and confirm diagnoses. In the case of an aortic dissection, it’s likely that a CT scan will be used to confirm the diagnosis. Medical personnel will consider where the dissection occurs as they diagnose the condition. It will likely be diagnosed as a Type A dissection if it runs from the ascending to the descending aorta.
The reason why it’s important to diagnose a Type B aortic dissection is because failure to treat the condition will increase the risk of it worsening and creating a more serious health issue. Medication for a Type B aortic dissection is taken for a long period of time and there’s still a possibility of having complications down the road. Sometimes the only way to know if a Type B aortic dissection will heal is to monitor the situation over time. In the event that the tear doesn’t appear to improve or gets worse, there’s a chance that surgery will be required.
One of the reasons why some patients experience a decline in their condition after suffering from an aortic dissection is because they have a high amount of stress in their life. In fact, stress can be responsible for an aortic rupture. Another culprit is high blood pressure over a long period of time. These types of issues are more common in men over the age of 60. If the solution is surgery, that could involve the use of a graft to resolve the tear.
In some instances, a pending or potential aortic dissection is identified through an X-ray or a CT scan. When they are identified, it’s likely to require surgery for correction. There are some situations where surgery is not the best option. For example, patients that are of an advanced age may not be candidates for the surgery. If a patient has had a cardiovascular incident or if they are pregnant, surgery is not likely to be the solution. Another instance when surgery would not be used for an aortic dissection is when the patient has had a heart attack within a certain timeframe.
Given the various factors involved in the diagnosis and treatment of an aortic dissection, there have been many cases of error and misdiagnosis. If you have experienced this issue and believe an error has taken place, contact Zayed Law Offices to get the support you need.