Background and purpose Accurate diagnosis of acute aortic dissection (AAD) is sometimes difficult because of accompanying central nervous system (CNS) symptoms. The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical characteristics of Type A AAD (TAAAD) with CNS symptoms. Methods We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 8403 patients ambulanced to our emergency and critical care center between April 2009 and May 2014. Results We identified 59 TAAAD patients for the analysis (mean age, 67.3 ± 10.5 years; 37 (62.0%) male). Eleven patients (18.6%) presented CNS symptoms at the onset of TAAAD, and these patients complained less frequently of typical chest and back pain than those without CNS symptoms (p < 0.0001). Initial systolic and diastolic blood pressure were lower (p = 0.003, and p = 0.049, respectively) and involvement of the supra-aortic artery was more frequent in patients with CNS symptoms (p < 0.0001). Conclusion Because CNS symptom can mask chest and back pain caused by TAAAD, physicians should always consider the possibility of TAAAD in patients with CNS symptoms in emergency medicine settings.
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