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The diagnosis of acute aortic dissection (AD) can be difficult because of its rarity and varied presentation, and this often leads to underdiagnosis. Recent guidelines from both the United States (American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology)1 and Europe (European Society of Cardiology)2 have made recommendations on diagnostic algorithms to improve care.

The American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines published in 2010 proposed using the Aortic Dissection Detection Risk Score (ADD-RS) as a primary screening tool. The ADD-RS is based on scoring the presence of 3 categorical risks: high-risk conditions (Marfan syndrome, family history of aortic disease, known aortic valve disease, known thoracic aortic aneurysm, or previous aortic manipulation including cardiac surgery), pain features (chest, back, or abdominal pain described as being of abrupt onset, severe intensity, or ripping/tearing), and examination features (evidence of perfusion deficit including pulse deficit, systolic blood pressure difference or focal neurological deficit, or with aortic diastolic murmur and hypotension/shock). The presence of ≥1 markers within each of these categorical features is given a score of 1 with a maximum cumulative score of 3, if all 3 categorical features are present. A score of 0 is considered low risk, a score of 1 is considered intermediate risk, and a score of 2 or 3 is considered to be high risk. The ADD-RS was investigated in the International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissection database in 20113 using the International Registry of Acute Aortic Dissection’s large contemporary repository of AD cases with documentation of clinical presentation and features, management, and outcomes. The study in 2538 cases validated that the ADD-RS has a high sensitivity of 95.7%.

The …


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