Aortic Dissection: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 4/1/2020

Aortic dissection is a serious medical condition that occurs when a tear develops in the inner muscle wall lining of the aorta, the largest artery in the body that carries blood away from the heart. This usually happens in a weakened area of the aortic wall, allowing blood to split apart the muscle layers of the aortic wall.

Symptoms and signs of aortic dissection include

Other symptoms and signs can include

Causes of aortic dissection

Many conditions can cause aortic dissection. Hypertension or high blood pressure is the most common cause. Other risk factors for developing aortic dissection include tobacco smoking and high cholesterol. Trauma, such as motor vehicle accidents, can also cause aortic dissection.

Other aortic dissection symptoms and signs


In the U.S., 1 in every 4 deaths is caused by heart disease. See Answer

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.