Despite the paucity of evidence, it is often presumed, and is physiologically plausible, that sudden, acute elevations in blood pressure may transiently increase the risk of recurrent aortic dissection (AD) or rupture in patients with a prior AD, because a post-dissection aorta is almost invariably dilated and may thus experience greater associated wall stress as compared with a nondilated aorta. Few data are available regarding the specific types and intensities of exercise that may be both safe and beneficial for this escalating patient population. The purpose of this editorial/commentary is to further explore this conundrum for clinicians caring for and counseling AD survivors. Moderate-intensity cardiovascular activity may be cardioprotective in this patient cohort. It is likely that severe physical activity restrictions may reduce functional capacity and quality of life in post-AD patients and thus be harmful, underscoring the importance of further exploring the role of physical activity and/or structured exercise in this at-risk patient population.
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