U.K. group calls for action on aortic tear management

2016 11 14 17 27 56 556 Chest Heart Pain 400

A new U.K. report published by the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has called for improved diagnosis and management of deadly aortic tears. The HSIB has tasked the U.K. Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) with creating a process to improve the management of aortic dissection.

The report was prompted by a case where a fit, 54-year-old patient died while being transferred to a specialist center for surgery. The patient went to the emergency department with complaints of severe chest pain and waited five hours for a diagnosis.

Unfortunately, such cases are not uncommon: Up to half of patients in England who experience acute aortic dissection die before accessing specialist care, according to the report. In addition, 40% experience a delay in diagnosis.

In a press release, Prof. Mark Callaway, medical director of professional practice for clinical radiology at the RCR, welcomed the report as an opportunity to create standards for recognizing and managing cases of acute aortic dissection.

"The HSIB report highlights the devastating, deadly reality of acute aortic dissection, how difficult it can be to recognize and how crucial it is that suspected patients get a rapid CT scan, which is the most effective way for a busy emergency team to confirm the condition," Callaway stated.

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