Non-traumatic aortic emergencies - Experience from a tertiary care centre in Karachi, Pakistan

Nadeemullah Khan, Junaid A. Razzak, Hasanat Sharif, Saqib Hamid Qazi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Objective: To review the incidence, clinical presentation and outcome of Non traumatic Aortic emergencies in a tertiary care hospital and its evaluation in the Emergency department (ED). Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of cases presented to the ED at Aga Khan University Hospital during 15 year period (1988-2002) who had final diagnosis of Aortic Dissection or Ruptured Aortic Aneurysm. Patients without confirmatory investigations were excluded. We aimed at looking for the incidence, clinical presentation, evaluation in the ED and final outcome. Results: Of the 12 cases, 7 had aortic dissection while the remaining 5 had ruptured aortic aneurysm. For Aortic dissection, mean age of presentation was 53 years with male predominance. Most of these patients had chest pain. Most common comorbid condition was hypertension. Pulse deficit was found in 2 cases, murmur in 4 cases, and focal neurologic deficit in 2 cases. Electrocardiogram revealed ischemic changes in 3 cases. Widened mediastinum on chest x-ray was present in all cases. The only initial misdiagnosis was cardiac ischemia. One patient survived to discharge. For patients presenting with ruptured aortic aneurysm, mean age of presentation was 52 yrs with a male predominance. The associated comorbid condition was hypertension. Almost all patients presented classically with abdominal pain, hypotension and palpable mass. No patient survived to discharge. Conclusion: Aortic emergencies although rare, are associated with significant mortality. High index of suspicion and prompt recognition by the emergency physician is of key importance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-10
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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