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Vasc Med. 2002;7(4):281-7.

Acute aortic syndrome: a case presentation and review of the literature.

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  • 1Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford Medical Center, CA 94305-5406, USA.


Aortic disease can present as an acute chest pain syndrome. Although aortic dissection is the most common etiology, other processes such as intramural hematoma (IMH) and penetrating atherosclerotic ulcers are being increasingly recognized. They can all be accurately identified by computed tomography (CT) imaging or transesophageal echocardiography. The overlap between these processes regarding definition and mechanism is controversial. Treatment for all three conditions has thus far been dictated by location, wherein ascending or arch involvement (Stanford type A) necessitates surgery and descending disease (type B) is treated medically. Small studies suggest that subgroups of type A IMH may be treated medically with good outcomes.

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