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A 33-year-old member asked:

how do i know if i'm at increased risk for an aortic dissection?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Luke Hermann
Emergency Medicine 25 years experience
Certain conditions: Certain conditions greatly increase the chances of developing an aortic dissection. These include connective tissue disorders (marfan syndrome, ehlers danlos, etc). Aortic valve problems and recent procedures that involve the aorta such as cardiac catheterization also increase your risk. Finally, if someone in your family has had an aortic dissection, you and other family members are at high risk.
Dr. Randall Bock
Specializes in General Practice
BP, age, Marfan's: Chronically untreated elevated blood pressure, advanced age, and marfan's syndrome (very long extremities, for your torso size). This is a rare condition to begin with. Have your physician listen for "abdominal bruit", "carotid bruit", and pursue with ultrasound if these exist and/or if large "pulsatile" mass is noted in the abdomen.

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A 21-year-old member asked:

Is aortic dissection always a result of this syndrome, or are there other causes?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Luke Hermann
Emergency Medicine 25 years experience
No: Certain syndromes such as eds, marfan, and turner predispose to aortic dissection but many other causes exist. A bicuspid aortic valve and recent valve surgery increase the risk of aortic dissection. Aortic dissection also tends to run in families (even if those family members don't have Marfan or ehlers-danlos, or one of the other associated syndromes.
A 30-year-old member asked:

How do doctors diagnose coarctation of the aorta?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alon Gitig
Cardiology 20 years experience
Physical exam/scans: Coarctation, because it causes obstruction to blood flow through the aorta, will impede normal flow into the lower half of the body. Therefore, it can be detected by measuring accurate blood pressures in the legs and arms, and noting a severe drop-off in the legs. Ct or MRI scans are used to confirm the diagnosis and pinpoint the precise location of the coarctation.
CA
A 38-year-old member asked:

What test is used to diagnose coarctation of the aorta?

3 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Milunski
Cardiology 37 years experience
Coarctation aorta: A specialized ct scan of the chest called a ct angiogram or a specialized MRI scan called in mr angiogram can be used to diagnose this condition.
A 40-year-old member asked:

When is coarctation of the aorta a problem?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alon Gitig
Cardiology 20 years experience
Usually if obstructs: Generally, coarctation is a problem if it causes a severe obstruction to blood flow through the aorta, with build-up of high pressures on the near-side, and fall-off on the distal side. This can result in severe hypertension in the arms (and proximal regions), and poor perfusion to organs beyond the coarctation. There is also a risk of aorta aneurysm or dissection which must be watched for.
CA
A 40-year-old member asked:

When is coarctation of the aorta diagnosed?

3 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alon Gitig
Cardiology 20 years experience
It depends: Coarctation is usually detected routinely by noting a marked discrepancy in blood pressure between the arms and legs. This frequently is part of a work-up for severe hypertension--i.e. Resistant to medications, or occuring in an unusually young patient--which is a result of the obstruction to blood flow through the aorta (with build-up of pressure in the arms, where BP is routinely measured).

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Last updated Jul 10, 2013

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