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Aortic Dissection Treatment

Aortic dissection is typically treated using either medication or through surgery. Your doctor will work with you to determine which approach will yield the best results for you.


In acute Type B dissection, intravenous medications are prescribed to reduce blood pressure quickly (eg, vasodilators such as nitroprusside, hydralazine, beta blockers) and to manage pain (eg, morphine). Longer term medications include beta blocker therapy. In uncomplicated dissection of the descending thoracic aorta (Type B) aggressive blood pressure control alone may be adequate.

There are no medication options for Type A.

Procedures & Surgery

Dissections of the ascending aorta (Type A) and other high-risk dissections of the descending aorta (Type B) (eg, with blocked blood flow to organs, pain, expansion of dissection, uncontrolled hypertension) often require emergency surgery and related operative procedures. Surgical therapies include:

  • Artificial aortic graft is the surgical removal of the torn section of the aorta and replacement with a segment of artificial vessel wall.
  • Reinforcement of dissected aorta which is often performed using minimally invasive (endovascular) procedures to guide and place a mesh tube (stent) inside the torn vessel for reinforcement
  • Complex multi-step repairs of aortic arch aneurysms
  • Special operations for patients with connective tissue disease
  • Valve-sparing aortic root replacement operations
  • Minimally invasive treatment of heart conditions that either aggravate the dissection or limit the success of the planned surgical repair