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What’s Aortic Dissection? (Podcast Tuesday)

Aortic dissection almost sounds like some kind of surgery, but it’s actually a life-threatening condition. The aorta, the largest blood vessel in your body, can develop a tear in its inner layer, and blood gets into the tear.Aortic dissection can cause tearing chest pain or back & abdominal pain.

Depending on what part of the aorta is involved, you may need surgery immediately to save your life. And the condition can also lead to a heart attack or stroke.

But dissections aren’t always obvious. Some people experience a sudden tearing pain in their chest or back. But other, less obvious symptoms include:

  • Back and abdominal pain
  • Reduced blood flow to the arms and legs

John Kern, MD, has known patients who were misdiagnosed with everything from the flu to gallstones. However, a CT scan will reveal an aortic dissection.

In this week’s podcast, Kern explains who’s at risk and aortic dissection treatments. Listen and learn how UVA treats aortic dissections.

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