PMID: 11074326Nov 14, 2000Paper

Acute thoracoabdominal aortic dissection presenting as painless, transient paralysis of the lower extremities: a case report

The Journal of Emergency Medicine
J B Joo, A J Cummings


Acute dissection of the aorta can be one of the most dramatic of cardiovascular emergencies. Its symptoms can occur abruptly and progress rapidly. Prompt recognition and appropriate intervention is crucial. However, not all aortic dissections present with classic symptoms of abrupt chest, back, or abdominal pain, and the diagnosis may be missed. A 63-year-old woman presented with transient loss of lower extremity motor and sensory function as the only symptom of an acute thoracoabdominal aortic dissection. Aortic dissection presenting as a transient neurologic syndrome is quite unusual. The sudden onset of weakness and parasthesia can result from the interruption of blood flow to the spinal cord. These symptoms of acute spinal cord ischemia, suggestive of a serious cardiovascular event, must be recognized and thoroughly investigated.


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