September 19th

Aortic Dissection Awareness Day -

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On the 19th of September each year, individuals, healthcare professionals, and communities come together to observe Aortic Dissection Awareness Day. It’s a time set aside to cast a much-needed light on this formidable and life-threatening medical emergency. This significant day opens up conversations and spreads knowledge about what happens when a tear develops in the inner layer of the aorta. This large vessel is the main highway for blood leaving the heart, and if it’s compromised, it’s an absolute medical emergency.

Awareness efforts on this day revolve around education on the red flags that signal aortic dissection, the risk factors that predispose one to it, and the crucial treatment methods that can save lives. The goal is to increase the chances of early detection since timing makes all the difference in the prognosis of those affected by this condition.

History of Aortic Dissection Awareness Day

Aortic dissection is a serious condition where the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off the heart, tears. Blood surges through the tear, causing the inner and middle layers of the aorta to separate, or dissect. The condition was first described by Frank Nicholls in 1761, and throughout history, it has claimed the lives of many, including King George II of Great Britain in 1760.

Medical understanding and treatment of aortic dissection have evolved significantly over the years, especially with advancements in diagnostic tools like CT scans and MRI, as well as surgical techniques. Despite these advancements, awareness and early detection remain critical for patient survival.

Recognizing the need for greater awareness, a group of aortic dissection survivors from the UK, Sweden, and Italy came together to establish the Aortic Dissection Awareness Day. They chose September 19th to commemorate this occasion. The inaugural event in 2016, held at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, sought to increase public knowledge and education about the condition as well as to foster a community among those affected by it.

The aim of Aortic Dissection Awareness Day is to improve early diagnosis and treatment, which can greatly enhance survival rates and outcomes for patients experiencing an aortic dissection.

Aortic Dissection Awareness Day Timeline

Discovery of Aortic Dissection

Dr. Frank Nicholls described the first case of aortic dissection.

First Surgical Approach

DeBakey reported the first successful surgical treatment of aortic dissection in the descending aorta.

Introduction of Aortic Dissection Classification

Michael E. DeBakey proposed a classification system for aortic dissection that became widely adopted.

Refinement of Classification Systems

The Stanford classification system, another popular system for classifying aortic dissections, was introduced, simplifying the approach to either type A or B dissections.

Endovascular Treatment

Endovascular stent-grafting for aortic dissection was developed, providing a less invasive alternative to open surgery for certain types of dissections.

Advancements in Imaging and Surgery

Ongoing developments in medical imaging and surgical techniques continue to improve the diagnosis, management, and survival rates for patients with aortic dissections.

Ideas to Celebrate Aortic Dissection Awareness Day

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Wear Red for Aortic Dissection Awareness

Encourage everyone in your community or workplace to wear red on Aortic Dissection Awareness Day. Share photos on social media with informative captions to spread the word about the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of aortic dissection.

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Host a Virtual Seminar with Medical Experts

Organize an online event where cardiologists and survivors can share their experiences and knowledge about aortic dissection. This can help educate the public on prevention, early detection, and treatment options.

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Launch an Awareness Campaign

Create a campaign using flyers, posters, and social media to provide educational materials about aortic dissection. Include statistics, warning signs, and stories from individuals who have experienced this condition to personalize the message.

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Community Screening Day

Partner with local health clinics or hospitals to offer blood pressure checks and screenings for vascular diseases. Early detection can be crucial in preventing aortic dissections, and providing access to screenings can save lives.

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Fundraising for Research and Support

Organize a fundraising event such as a charity run, bake sale, or online crowdfunding campaign to raise money for aortic dissection research and patient support groups.

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Create an Aortic Dissection First Aid Guide

Produce and distribute a first aid guide that includes the urgent steps to take when someone is suspected of having an aortic dissection. This guide could be useful for workplaces, public spaces, and homes.

8 Interesting Facts About Aortic Dissection


A Sudden and Stealthy Condition

Aortic dissection is often mistaken for other conditions such as heart attacks, due to its rapid onset and the severe chest pain that it causes. The pain is typically described as a sudden, severe, and tearing pain in the chest or upper back.


Not Just High Blood Pressure

While high blood pressure is a common risk factor for aortic dissection, other conditions such as connective tissue disorders, a bicuspid aortic valve, and a history of heart surgery can also predispose individuals to this life-threatening event.


The 'Double Barrel' Aorta

When an aortic dissection occurs, the inner layer of the aorta tears, allowing blood to flow between the layers of the wall of the aorta and creating a 'false lumen' alongside the true lumen. This can lead to a 'double-barrel' aorta, where two passages for blood flow exist within the vessel.


Rapid Recognition and Response

Quick diagnosis and treatment are critical for aortic dissection. If not promptly treated, mortality rates increase by approximately 1-2% per hour during the initial stages. Imaging techniques such as CT scans, MRI scans, and transesophageal echocardiography are instrumental in diagnosis and management.


A Historical Malady

One of the most famous cases of aortic dissection was that of King George II of Great Britain who died in 1760. His autopsy revealed that he had died of an aortic dissection after his dead body was found on the toilet with a magazine on his lap and evidence that he had been straining hard.


Can Radiate to Other Areas

Pain from an aortic dissection can radiate to different areas of the body, including the neck, jaw, abdomen, and limbs, depending on the extent and direction of the dissection. This can sometimes lead to misdiagnosis as the symptoms may mimic those of other ailments.


Blood Pressure Control: A Key Prevention Strategy

Proper management of blood pressure is one of the best strategies for preventing aortic dissection, especially among those with a known risk of the condition. Regular monitoring and medication adherence are crucial for those at risk.


Gender and Age Factors

Aortic dissection is found to occur more commonly in men than women, with a ratio of about two to one. The condition is also more prevalent in those aged between 60 and 80 years, although it can occur at any age.

Aortic Dissection Awareness Day FAQs

Next Aortic Dissection Awareness Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 September 19th Tuesday
2024 September 19th Thursday
2025 September 19th Friday
2026 September 19th Saturday
2027 September 19th Sunday
What is the pattern? Every September 19th

Aortic Dissection Awareness Day Word Search

  • Aorta
  • Dissection
  • Artery
  • Awareness
  • Blood
  • Emergency