Pushing beyond the limit: a novel clinical sign of thoracic aortic dissection

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The timely diagnosis of aortic dissection is notoriously confounded by unreliable symptomatology. We present a previously unreported clinical sign: thoracic pain reproduced by abdominal palpation. Our case illustrates the dependence of traditional clinical features on the anatomical location of an aortic dissection and lends weight to the concept of aortic pain as being a dynamic product of inter-related changes in intraluminal pressure, volume, wall stress and diameter. The clinical sign we describe may be very specific of acute aortic pathology.

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