“Think Aorta” the implementation of NHS diagnostics and awareness for Aortic Dissection

“Think Aorta” the implementation of NHS diagnostics and awareness for Aortic Dissection

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Aortic Dissection Awareness

“Think Aorta”

In 2015, our father Tim Fleming suddenly became very unwell, presenting all of the classic symptoms of Aortic Dissection; severe and sudden onset of pain in his back, chest and abdomen. Sadly, it appears to us that all of the markers and indicators were missed. The correct diagnosis of an Aortic Dissection was not made when Dad initially presented to A&E. Dad paid the ultimate price with his life.

This petition is an urgent call to parliament for the implementation of a robust policy, diagnostics and awareness for Aortic Dissection within the NHS and HSE.


"Think Aorta" is a campaign to lower the unacceptable high rate of misdiagnosed Aortic Dissections in Accident and Emergency Departments and GP Surgeries across the UK and Ireland.

Aortic dissection is the most common life-threatening disorder affecting the aorta. It occurs when a tear inside of the aorta causes blood to flow between the layers of the wall of the aorta. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical for survival. Aortic Dissection can quickly lead to a painful and frightening death as a result of reduced blood flow to the heart or rupture of the aorta.

A&E medical staff must immediately rule out Aortic Dissection. It is a known fast killer where the death rate increases 1% for each hour that diagnosis and surgical repair are delayed, therefore advanced medical care is needed immediately.

Aortic Dissection IS one of the top deadly three chest pain entities and very often mimics a heart attack. ECG and chest x-rays are routinely used to diagnose heart attack but cannot rule out Aortic Dissection, as both can appear normal in a patient with a life-threatening Aortic Dissection.

A&E health care professionals and medical staff MUST remain suspicious at all times - until aortic dissection is ruled out.

The condition, "Aortic Dissection" is well documented since the early 18th Century.  But AORTIC DISSECTION continues to be misdiagnosed by our A&E medical professionals and GP’s despite well established treatment guidelines but where no medical policy exists.

The rate of misdiagnosed Aortic Dissection is unacceptably high.



This is an urgent call for the government to implement the following actions across the NHS in the UK and the HSE in Ireland:

1. POLICY - The introduction of policy and guidelines for timely identification and treatment of Aortic Dissection for emergency services and A&E departments across the NHS and HSE.

2. DIAGNOSTICS - The implementation across the NHS and HSE of consistent, routine emergency diagnostics for Aortic Dissection – once a heart attack is ruled-out, doctors should routinely check for Aortic Dissection.

3. EDUCATION - Training, awareness and education for our medical professionals to ensure rapid, consistent adoption of the identified best practice

4. PROCESS - Organisation of emergency cardiac surgical services so that patients with aortic dissection are always treated by surgeons with the appropriate experience.


“Think Aorta” Timely detection and treatment of Aortic Dissection will save lives.