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The risk of misdiagnosis in acute thoracic aortic dissection: a review of current guidelines
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    Red flags as an adjunct to clinical decision rules in aortic dissection

    The clinical presentation which simulates ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction(STEMI)(1) is one of the most deceptive manifestations of dissecting aortic aneurysm(DAA), deserving detailed analysis notwithstanding its infrequent(2)(3)(4) occurrence. In Zhu et al DAA was prevalent in only 0.5% of 1576 subjects with suspected STEMI(2). Conversely, Kosuge et al documented a 4%(9 patients) prevalence of ST segment elevation among 233 subjects with confirmed DAA(3). In Hirata et al ST segment elevation was prevalent in 8.2% of 159 subjects with type A aortic dissection(4). When ST segment elevation occurs as a manifestation of DAA, there is a high prevalence of involvement of the inferior leads, exemplified by 6 of the 9 patients in Kosuge et al(3)., and seven of the 13 cases in Hirata et al(4)., arguably because type A aortic dissection is more likely to compromise the ostium of the right coronary artery than the ostium of the left coronary artery(5). In view of the life-threatening nature of DAA clinicians should not rely only on clinical decision rules to raise the index of suspicion. The rationale for a more open-minded approach is that clinical decision rules such as the AAD risk score tend to emphasise typical symptoms, such as the "tearing" character of the back pain(1), almost to the total exclusion of less typical symptoms such as nonspecific back pain, the latter typically radiating from a retrosternal chest pain. For example, a literat...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.