Acute aortic dissection is hard to diagnose

Almost 20 years ago The New York Times published an article on the death of Jonathan Larson in acute aortic dissection, December 13, 1996  “Twice during the last week of January, Mr. Larson, 35, who created the hit musical ”Rent,” was rushed to emergency rooms complaining of severe chest pain. Twice, doctors failed to diagnose the potentially treatable condition that killed him…”

Today – in the beginning of year 2016 – it is almost 20 years later, and since 1996 many others also have died from acute aortic dissections, since it is so hard to diagnose. With over 7 billion humans on the planet, over 200.000 persons will get ill in aortic dissections each year. Today most of them will die, undiagnosed in time. The famous actor John Ritter who passed away 2003 was one of many.

Every day people dies all over the planet, undiagnosed, or diagnosed to late to be saved. Awareness and research is changing this. But still people die in the hands of staff in the Emergency Rooms (ER) in hospitals all over the world. Why is it so difficult to make a proper diagnose?

The diagnose is very hard to find partly since it is a rare diagnose. Only 30 persons out of a population of 1 million get ill each year. Statistics says that 40% of them never make it to a hospital. So only 18 persons out of a milion comes to an ER in a hopital each year, and they need a diagnose that will require a digital imaging by CT or MRI to be confirmed. In many cases, doctors think of a heart attack, kidneystones or muscle pain and perhaps orders bloodsamples, EEC or X-ray, – but non of these will show if the patient has an acute aortic dissection.

Aortic Dissection Awareness Day female doctor 1 good day
Aortic Dissection Awareness Day feamle cardiologist

To increase awareness we are now trying to create a global awareness day for Aortic Dissection.

We do this to hopefully bring more awareness around this deadly disease, also to help researchers to get more funds to find ways to prevent deaths in aortic diseases like aortic dissection, and to create more awareness among doctors and nurses who never met a patient before with an aortic dissection – so that they hopefully get the thought “……could this be an aortic dissection?” wroking in the ER, if they are not quite sure what diagnose a patient should have
In USA this awareness work is well under way since many years. The John Ritter Foundation and the TAD Coalition are doing an impressive work for our global community of people affected by this rare disease.
In Europe we are just getting started with our awareness work. And in Europe the population is more than twice the size of USA. We need you participation to make this a reality also locally where you live.
We enclose a link to the article from The New York Times, written 20 years ago. But it could, actually and unfortunately, have been written and published also yesterday (click here).

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