Aortic dissection

Kalani Olmsted, Deborah B. Diercks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Hemodynamic therapy remains the foundation of aortic dissection (AD) care, and successful control of blood pressure and heart rate improves patient comfort. The first step in AD care, anti-impulse therapy, serves as optimal medical management and also provides pain relief. Ongoing pain after beta-blocker administration usually indicates incomplete blood pressure control. In such cases, pain relief (and optimal medical management) is facilitated by vasodilation. When AD is accompanied by cardiac ischemia, the calcium channel blocker nicardipine is indicated. Citing sedative and anxiolytic properties, expert reviewers recommend morphine for AD pain, but there is no evidence demonstrating its superiority over other opioids. Patients in pain from AD tend to be hypertensive, but in those cases where blood pressure is borderline or low, fentanyl's limited hemodynamic impact is attractive. Anesthesiologists confirm fentanyl's utility for AD, including in cases where there are complicating conditions such as subarachnoid hemorrhage or pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEmergency Department Analgesia: An Evidence-Based Guide
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages3
ISBN (Print)9780511544835, 9780521696012
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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