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Thoracic Aortic Disease (TAD) - Emergencies Emergencies When aortic disease is known to be present, with proper care there should be a significant reduction in the number of emergencies. Medically maintaining lowered blood pressure is aimed at preventing emergency situations.  In an emergency, the odds of injury and death due to aortic dissection or rupture increase significantly. When chest and/or back pain or other symptoms are present and there is no evidence of a heart attack, a CT scan of the aorta using intravenous contrast should be done. Alternatively, a high quality transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) may also be equally informative. Quickly finding out if an aortic aneurysm or dissection is present or not can make the difference between life and death. The aorta itself "feels" pain that should not be ignored. Pain or feelings of pressure in the chest and back may come from the aorta, even if it has not dissected. This usually occurs with elevated systolic blood pressure (symptomatic aorta). Medically, lowering blood pressure removes stress on the wall of the aorta and may relieve aortic pain. Aortic pain and other aortic-related symptoms (such as pressure in the chest) are not due to anxiety. Anyone may be understandably anxious when experiencing chest pain. However, anxiety is most likely not the primary cause of the symptoms when aortic disease is present.
No Second Chance

Undiagnosed TAD May

Take Life Suddenly

How many deaths are due to aortic rupture each year? Because it is easily confused with a heart attack in the absence of an autopsy, the true incidence is unknown. Because there was an autopsy, it is known that Doug Grieshop’s aorta ruptured in his chest when he collapsed and died at the age of 33. He also had an undiagnosed BAV. Doug went to the ER with chest pain, 18 months before his death. A heart attack was ruled out, but his aorta was not checked. One morning at work, aortic rupture took his life almost instantly.
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