Dissection of the abdominal aorta. Current evidence and implications for treatment strategies: a review and meta-analysis of 92 patients

J Endovasc Ther. 2009 Feb;16(1):71-80. doi: 10.1583/08-2601.1.


Purpose: To report meta-analyses of published clinical experiences with abdominal aortic dissection (AAD), a rare event that is accountable for up to 4% of all aortic dissections.

Methods: All English-language articles regarding abdominal aortic dissection were identified using MEDLINE, Cochrane Library Central, and EMBASE databases. All identified articles were critically appraised for relevance and validity before data extraction and the meta-analyses were performed. Original data were identified on 92 AAD patients (62 men; mean age 59+/-16 years).

Results: Of all AADs, 73 (79%) were spontaneous, 13 (14%) traumatic, and 6 (7%) iatrogenic; the majority (68, 74%) were acute presentations. The mean dissection length was 59+/-16 mm. A pre-existing abdominal aortic aneurysm was present in 39 (42%). Hypertension was more frequently present in patients with spontaneous dissections compared to other dissection types (p = 0.001). Concurrent aortic aneurysms were more often associated with spontaneous dissections (p = 0.002). Aortic rupture occurred in 9 (10%) AADs. Open surgical repair was performed in 46 (50%), endovascular repair in 19 (21%), and conservative medical treatment in 27 (29%). In-hospital mortality was 4% overall [1 (2%) in the open repair group, 0 endovascular, and 2 (8%) conservative treatment]. Major complications occurred in 9% [6 (13%) in the open repair group, 1 (5%) in the endovascular group, and 1 (4%) in the conservative treatment cohort].

Conclusion: AAD is a rare event that appears to be associated with hypertension and pre-existing aneurysmal degeneration of the abdominal aorta. AAD patients are at considerable risk of in-hospital mortality and complications. Endovascular therapy appears to be associated with a relatively low risk of mortality or major complications compared to open repair and conservative treatment.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / diagnosis
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / etiology
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / mortality
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / surgery*
  • Aortic Dissection / diagnosis
  • Aortic Dissection / etiology
  • Aortic Dissection / mortality
  • Aortic Dissection / surgery*
  • Aortic Rupture / surgery
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures* / mortality