Murmurs other than the early diastolic murmur in aortic dissection

Am J Emerg Med. 2021 Nov:49:133-136. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2021.05.041. Epub 2021 May 21.


The purpose of this review is to draw attention to the presence and significance of murmurs other than the murmur of aortic regurgitation, in patients with aortic dissection. For that purpose, a literature search was conducted using Pubmed and Googlescholar. The search terms were "dissecting aneurysm of the aorta", "systolic murmurs", "ejection systolic murmurs", "holosystolic" murmurs, "continuous murmurs", and "Austin-Flint" murmur. Murmurs other than the murmur of aortic regurgitation, which were associated with aortic dissection, fell into the categories of systolic murmurs, some of which were holosystolic, and continuous murmurs, the latter attributable to fistulae between the dissecting aneurysm and the left atrium, right atrium, and the pulmonary artery, respectively. Mid-diastolic murmurs were also identified, and these typically occurred in association with both the systolic and the early diastolic murmurs. Among patients with systolic murmurs clinical features which enhanced the pre-test probability of aortic dissection included back pain, stroke, paraplegia, unilateral absence of pulses, interarm differences in blood pressure, hypertension, shock, bicuspid aortic valve, aortic coarctation, Turner's syndrome, and high D-dimer levels, respectively. In the absence of the murmur of aortic regurgitation timely diagnosis of aortic dissection could be expedited by increased attention to parameters which enhance pretest probability of aortic dissection. That logic would apply even if the only murmurs which were elicited were systolic murmurs.

Keywords: Aortic; Dissection; Murmurs; Pretest; Probability; Systolic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Dissection / diagnosis*
  • Aortic Dissection / physiopathology
  • Heart Auscultation / methods
  • Heart Murmurs / classification
  • Heart Murmurs / etiology*
  • Heart Murmurs / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Physical Examination / methods