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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Epidemiology

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Thoracic aortic disease encompasses a broad range of degenerative, structural, acquired, genetic-based, and traumatic disease states and presentations.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention death certificate data, diseases of the aorta and its branches account for 43,000 to 47,000 deaths annually in the United States. The precise number of deaths attributable to thoracic aortic diseases is unclear. However, autopsy studies suggest that the presentation of thoracic aortic disease is often death due to aortic dissection (AoD) and rupture, and these deaths account for twice as many deaths as attributed to ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysms.