What is Aortic Dissection?
Aortic dissection occurs in the aorta, the main artery in the body that supplies oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. The walls of the aorta consist of three layers; an aortic dissection happens when there is a tear in the innermost layer of the walls, hence the blood has entered the inner and middle layers of the aortic wall which cause a false lumen. Aortic dissection can be harmless, serious, or life-threatening. The dissection can compromise the blood flow to the rest of the body, causing severe pain and life-threatening internal bleeding as a result of rupture.
There are two types of Aortic Dissection: Type A and Type B
Type A Aortic Dissection (ascending), occurs when there is a tear in the ascending section of the aorta, where the aorta branches off from the heart. Type A Aortic Dissections requires emergency treatment, typically surgical since there is an increased risk of rupture and heart attack.
Type B Aortic Dissection (descending): occurs when there is a tear in the descending section of the aorta, in the chest or abdomen, which supplies blood to essential organs and supports overall function of the body. Type B dissection is usually managed medically but may need endovascular treatment in the setting of compromising blood supply to the end-organs.