Symptoms & Diagnosis


Patients usually present with acute tearing pain which is the most common symptom. Chest pain is common in type A dissection, and back pain is common in type B dissection. The patients should seek medical attention from a cardiac and vascular specialist immediately.

Common symptoms include:

  • Moderate to severe chest or back pain
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Leg pain and weakness

While not all of the above symptoms indicate aortic dissection, it is important to be proactive in seeking medical attention, as aortic dissection can cause severe illness or death.  In the event the pain is severe, the patient should go immediately to an emergency room.


Medical imaging is the most common means of diagnosis of aortic dissection; a CTA (Computed Tomography Angiogram) is considered the industry’s gold standard.  Traditional CT scans, MRIs, and echocardiograms can also help detect aortic dissection.