AHA/ACC Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients With Thoracic Aortic Disease (2010)

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Commentary by Reed E. Pyeritz, MD, PhD

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Practitioners

For healthcare professionals

“Early diagnosis and treatment can save lives.” 

That was the powerful message delivered in March 2010 when the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and other medical professional organizations released the first Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients With Thoracic Aortic Disease.1

Approximately 10,000 people experience aortic dissections annually. Fast, accurate diagnosis of dissection is imperative: 50% of patients with undiagnosed aortic dissection die within 48 hours, a death rate of approximately 1% per hour.

The ability to recognize and manage risk factors for aortic aneurysm and dissection, as well as the “red flags” that may signal a potential dissection, can mean the difference between implementing a life-saving intervention — or missing the chance to save a life.

For physicians

Recommendations from the AHA/ACC Guidelines for risk management and acute aortic dissection decision-making in the emergency room setting, including Interactive Pathways.

For triage staff

Recognizing the signs and symptoms (“red flags”) of aortic dissection during triage and assessment

For first responders

Evaluating signs and symptoms and expediting treatment

1 Hiratzka LF, Bakris GL, Beckman JA, et al. 2010 ACCF/AHA/AATS/ACR/ASA/SCA/SCAI/SIR/STS/SVM Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Patients With Thoracic Aortic Disease: Executive Summary. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2010;55(14):1509-1544. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2010.02.010.