Aortic Dissection


An aortic dissection is when the layers of the aorta pull apart and blood gets trapped between them. This weakens the aorta and may cause it to rupture. People who have aortic aneurysms are at higher risk of dissection based on the size, the patient's medical condition, and heredity.

Illustration of aortic dissection

At the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, our multidisciplinary approach has enhanced our expertise in treating both uncomplicated and complicated aortic dissections. Complicated aortic dissections include those that rupture or have malperfusion (abnormal perfusion of blood) to other organs. We have pioneered the use of aortic fenestration, a technique of surgically cutting/creating an opening in the aorta, for patients with malperfusion.

Significantly Lowered Mortality Rate for Open Aortic Dissection Repair

Treatment for aortic dissection can range from an open surgical procedure, to endovascular (inside the blood vessels) repair, to medical management. Published results of our open acute aortic dissection repairs show the University of Michigan’s mortality rate to be 5.4 percent over the past five years, which is significantly less than the national average of 25 percent.

Research Brings New Treatment Options for Aortic Disease

We continue to discover innovative and improved treatment options for aortic diseases. The University of Michigan is home to the International Registry of Aortic Dissection, and to several research laboratories that are exploring the molecular etiologies of aortic diseases. Through patient participation and research, we are helping to advance the best treatment options for all types of aortic diseases.

Make an Appointment

To make an appointment to discuss your need for treatment for aortic dissection or other cardiovascular treatment, call the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center toll-free at 888-287-1082 or visit our Make an Appointment page for more information about what to expect when you call us.