The impact of pre-existing blood pressure control in patients with acute aortic dissections

Amy B. Reed, Rumi Faizer, R. James Valentine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Arterial hypertension (HTN) is considered a seminal risk factor for aortic dissection (AD). The purpose of this study is to evaluate whether pre-existing blood pressure (BP) control lessens the extent of dissection and has a favorable impact on outcome of patients with acute AD. Methods: Consecutive acute AD patients who had at least two BPs recorded within the 12 months preceding the AD were retrospectively analyzed. The two most recent BPs were averaged and defined per published guidelines as normal (BP≤ 130/80), Stage I HTN (BP >130/80 and <139/89), or Stage 2 or greater HTN (BP > 140/90). The number of hypertensive medications (MEDs) was also used as a surrogate marker of HTN severity. Patients with known genetic causes of AD were excluded. Results: 89 subjects (55% men, 45% women; mean age, 64±14 years) with acute AD (58% Stanford type A and 42% Stanford type B) were included. Two most recent BPs were recorded a mean of 5±3 and 3±2.7 months before the AD, respectively. Twenty-nine (33%) subjects had normal BP, including nine subjects with no history of HTN and on no MEDs. Sixty (67%) subjects had elevated BP, including 21 (35%) with Stage I HTN and 39 (65%) with Stage 2 HTN. Compared to subjects with normal BP, subjects with Stage 1 and Stage 2 HTN were younger (70±13 years vs 62±1 year, p = 0.01), but there were no differences in other demographics, risk factors, comorbidities, or history of drug use. There were no group differences in the distal extent of the dissections, complications requiring thoracic endograft repair, mean length of hospital stay, final discharge status, or 30-day mortality. Compared to the number of MEDs before AD, all three groups had a higher mean number of MEDs to achieve normal BP at discharge that persisted at a mean follow-up of 18±15 months. Conclusions: These data show that approximately one-third of patients with acute AD had well controlled or no antecedent history of HTN. The degree of pre-existing HTN control had no bearing on the type or extent of AD, length of stay, or early outcome. Regardless of the state of HTN control before AD, the consistent and sustained increase in the severity of HTN after AD suggests that the dissection process has a profound and lasting effect on BP regulation. Further studies are indicated to elucidate the pathologic mechanisms involved in AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1051-1057
Number of pages7
Issue number6
Early online dateSep 17 2021
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number UL1-TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. The article was presented at the 44 Annual Meeting of the Midwestern Vascular Surgery Society, September 10–12, 2020. th

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.


  • Hypertension
  • acute aortic dissection
  • pre-existing

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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