Many aortic dissections, especially those in the ascending aorta (Type A), are life-threatening emergencies that require immediate referral to a surgeon. A dissection can feel like a heart attack, with sudden severe chest or upper or lower back pain. However, many patients do not have these classic symptoms. Dissection can lead to stroke, kidney problems or other organ damage, aortic valve regurgitation, or internal bleeding and sudden death. The risk depends mainly on the location and severity of the dissection.