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Aortopathy in pregnancy
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  • Published on:
    Poor index of suspicion as a major hinderance to optimum management

    In the event of the occurrence of aortic dissection as a complication of aortopathy in pregnancy a low index of suspicion for aortic dissection can be a major hinderance to correct diagnosis. Suboptimal diagnostic awareness is attributable to the fact that, clinicians confronted with the crisis of "collapse in a pregnant woman" , are likely to prioritise recognition of PE over recognition of dissecting aortic aneurysm(DAA) , given the fact that PE is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the developed world[1]. This cognitive bias is most likely to operate when symptoms of DAA overlap with symptoms of PE.
    For example, when a woman at 37 weeks gestation presented with the association of chest pain, breathlessness and raised D-dimer levels, the referral for computed tomography angiography(CTA) was prompted by the intention "to evaluate for pulmonary embolism". In the event CTA disclosed the presence of DAA[2].
    Women with undifferentiated the "collapse" in pregnancy" syndrome are best served by a multidimensional evaluation which includes a differential diagnosis with a minimum of 3 parameters, namely, PE, acute myocardial infarction, and DAA[3]. The workings of that diagnostic approach were exemplified in a woman who presented at 28 weeks gestation with breathlessness, throat pain, and syncope . In view of elevated D-dimer and T wave inversion in lead III "there was concern for a pulmonary t...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.