2004 Volume 10 Issue 1 Pages 163-168
A review of 50 patients suffering from aortic dissection or a ruptured aortic aneurysm was carried out to find the frequency of back pain and paraplegia among initial complaints, and the key points that differentiated these conditions from spinal disease. Of these patients, 32 patients (64%) had acute and severe back pain, while one patient (2%) had sudden paraplegia. A past history of hypertension and abnormal blood pressure on admission were important predisposing factors for suspecting aortic diseases, while the most reliable tool for imaging diagnosis was a CT scan. In a patient with a severe back pain or paraplegia, acute aortic dissection and a ruptured aortic aneurysm should always be included in the differential diagnosis.