Objectives: We sought to evaluate the clinical characteristics, management, and outcomes of elderly patients with acute type A aortic dissection.
Background: Few data exist on the clinical manifestations and outcomes of acute type A aortic dissection in an elderly patient cohort.
Methods: We categorized 550 patients with type A aortic dissection enrolled in the International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissection into two age strata (<70 and >or=70 years) and compared their clinical features, management, and in-hospital events.
Results: Thirty-two percent of patients with type A dissection were aged >or=70 years. Marfan syndrome was exclusively associated with dissection in the young, whereas hypertension, atherosclerosis and iatrogenic dissection predominated in older patients. Typical symptoms (abrupt onset of chest or back pain) and signs (aortic regurgitation murmur or pulse deficits) of dissection were less common among the elderly. Fewer elderly patients were managed surgically than younger patients (64% vs. 86%, p < 0.0001). Hypotension occurred more frequently (46% vs. 32%, p = 0.002) and focal neurologic deficits less frequently (18% vs. 26%, p = 0.04) among the elderly. In-hospital mortality was higher among older patients (43% vs. 28%, p = 0.0006). Logistic regression analysis identified age >or=70 years as an independent predictor of hospital death for acute type A aortic dissection (odds ratio 1.7, 95% confidence interval 1.1-2.8; p = 0.03).
Conclusions: Our study shows significant differences between older (age >or=70 years) and younger (age <70 years) patients with acute type A aortic dissection in their clinical characteristics, management, and hospital outcomes. Future research should evaluate strategies to improve outcomes in this high-risk elderly cohort.