Acute aortic dissection has an incidence of approximately half that of symptomatic abdominal and thoracic aneurysm of the aorta and more than twice the mortality of population-based controls. While urgent undelayed open surgery is the strategy of choice in proximal dissection, medical management has been the mainstay of treatment for uncomplicated distal or type B aortic dissection, but endovascular intervention is now considered a potential treatment option for all type B dissection due to its success in complicated cases. Endovascular repair can be technically demanding in aortic dissection, and timing of the repair can have a significant influence on anatomical and clinical outcome. Observational reports of feasibility and reasonable safety are flanked by only two randomised trials; the Acute Dissection Stent Grafting or Best Medical Treatment (ADSORB) trial demonstrated improved remodelling in acute dissection and the INvestigation of STEnt grafts in patients with type B Aortic Dissections (INSTEAD) trial showed better long-term survival in patients treated endovascularly in the subacute phase. Meta-analyses and other large clinical studies have demonstrated mixed results. Due to some risks associated endovascular repair and the requirement of specialist aortic care (which is not always available), a pragmatic approach for current management could involve high intensity serial imaging in the acute phase of a type B aortic dissection, thereby identifying complicated cases for early intervention and selection of patients at high risk of disease progression for deferred endovascular management in the subacute phase within 90 days.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited