Orlando, FL - It's a terrifying prospect, and for good reason: a rip in the lining of your aorta can kill you swiftly and painfully if you don't get skilled help - or even if you do. That bleak reality is the central conclusion from new results in a major international study of the phenomenon. But the data also seem to give some clues that could help cut the death toll.
In several talks and posters being presented at the annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology, physicians are sharing new results from the largest-ever study of patients with torn aorta linings, or aortic dissection. The University of Michigan Health System is the coordinating center for the International Registry of Aortic Dissection, or IRAD.
One startling finding: Nearly 33 percent of those struck by Type A aortic dissection died in the hospital, despite the high experience level of staff at the IRAD institutions. The toll was above 50 percent in patients who didn't or couldn't have surgery to fix the tear at its origin near the heart.
The study also finds, surprisingly, that the Type B form of dissection, considered less severe because it starts further from the heart, killed more than 11 percent of those it struck. And the data showed the elderly did poorly no matter the type of dissection nor how it was treated.
But on the positive side, the study finds that it may be possible to help physicians predict quickly which patients need the most aggressive treatment. And other preliminary data suggest that minimally invasive techniques may help improve survival for those who can't endure surgery.
The significance of the IRAD study stems both from the fact that it provides more data than ever on an uncommon, deadly phenomenon, and from the awful truths and glimmers of hope that the data show. The researchers, from 17 large institutions in six countries, hope their findings will help steer aortic dissection diagnosis and care, and i
Contact: Valerie Gliem or Kara Gavin
University of Michigan Health System