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Blood Test on the Horizon to Detect Aortic Aneurysm and Aortic Dissection
Date:9/16/2013

ow research aimed at a rare genetic disorder helps people with similar diseases that are common in the general population,” said Dr. Susan Hayflick, Chair of Molecular and Medical Genetics, Oregon Health & Science University. “It is also an excellent example of how a multidisciplinary team of investigators can pool their expertise and resources for translational research that can directly enhance patient care.”

Patients have the best outcomes when they know they are at risk for aortic enlargement. Then, they can have their aorta monitored and plan surgery to repair the aorta before a life-threatening dissection or rupture. Surgery is usually recommended based on the rate of enlargement of the aorta and the actual diameter. Survival rates after planned surgery to repair the aorta are very good (greater than 95%) in centers with the expertise. However, the results are less positive in the emergency department. A person with unexplained chest, back, or abdominal pain who does not know they are at increased risk of aortic dissection may not be treated with the same urgency as those who know their risk. In addition, doctors may consider other diagnoses first, delaying the urgent life-saving care needed to treat someone with an aortic dissection. If the diagnosis of aortic tear or rupture is made quickly, surgery can be successful based on IRAD data, early survival is about 75% for surgical treatment of acute ascending dissection. Without treatment, the risk of death increases 1% each hour in the first 48 hours.

“Biomarkers for aortic aneurysm and dissection are necessary because the presence of these conditions in the chest cannot be detected without appropriate imaging,” said Dr. Scott LeMaire, Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine. “A chest x-ray cannot reliably detect an aortic tear or aneurysm and, too frequently, by the time doctors dismiss the more common causes of chest
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