Acute Dissection of the Descending Aorta: Noncommunicating Versus Communicating Forms

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Abstract

Background

Noncommunicating dissecting intramural hematoma is an aortic dissection variant, characterized by absent flow within the false lumen. Noncommunicating dissecting intramural hematoma is thought to be more stable than communicating dissection when beginning in the descending aorta. This study assessed clinical characteristics, anatomic characteristics, and 1-year outcomes in acute descending noncommunicating dissecting intramural hematoma versus communicating dissection.

Methods

Retrospective database review identified patients who underwent magnetic resonance or computed tomography imaging revealing acute descending noncommunicating dissecting intramural hematoma or communicating dissection. Comparisons of clinical and anatomic characteristics and 1-year outcomes were performed.

Results

Twenty-four noncommunicating dissecting intramural hematoma and 36 communicating dissection cases were identified. Patients with noncommunicating dissecting intramural hematoma were older (68.5 ± 8.8 versus 61.8 ± 11.6 years; p < 0.05). Although noncommunicating dissecting intramural hematoma often showed abdominal aorta extension (50%), the infrarenal level was spared. Communicating dissection characteristically extended beyond the diaphragm (89%), including into the infrarenal aorta (28%). There was no significant difference in rates of adverse clinical events for noncommunicating dissecting intramural hematoma versus communicating dissection (13% versus 30%; 0.10 > p > 0.05). By follow-up imaging (87% of population), aortic deterioration was more frequent in noncommunicating dissecting intramural hematoma versus communicating dissection cases (60% versus 15%; p < 0.005).

Conclusions

Acute descending noncommunicating dissecting intramural hematoma and communicating dissection represent two variants, with differing clinical and anatomic characteristics, but comparable levels of 1-year morbidity.

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