Aortic dissection is connected with hypertension and many connective tissue disorders. Vasculitis is rarely linked with aortic dissection. It can also be the result of chest trauma. 72 to 80% of individuals who present with an aortic dissection have a previous history of hypertension. The highest incidence of aortic dissection is in individuals who are 50 to 70 years old. The incidence is twice as high in males as in females. Half of dissections in females before age 40 occur during pregnancy.
The risk of death due to aortic dissection is uppermost in the first few hours after the dissection begins, and decreases afterwards. Because of this, the therapeutic strategies differ for treatment of an acute dissection compared to a chronic dissection. An acute dissection is one in which the individual presents within the first two weeks. If the individual has managed to survive this window period, his prognosis is improved. About 66% of all dissections present in the acute phase.In all individuals with aortic dissections, medication should be used to control high blood pressure, if present.
Aortic dissection is a tear in the wall of the aorta that causes blood to flow between the layers of the wall of the aorta and force the layers apart. Aortic dissection is a medical emergency and can rapidly lead to death, even with optimal treatment. If the dissection tears the aorta completely open , massive and rapid blood loss occurs. Aortic dissections resulting in rupture have an 80% mortality rate, and 50% of patients die before they even reach the hospital. If the dissection reaches 6 cm, the patient must be taken for emergency surgery.