UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Vascular

Title: Beta Blockade in Treating Acute Aortic Dissection

Keywords: Aortic Dissection (PubMed Search)

Posted: 8/23/2010 by Rob Rogers, MD (Updated: 11/19/2019)
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Beta Blockade in Treating Acute Aortic Dissection

Medical therapy for acute aortic dissection is aimed at decreasing shear stress within the aorta. Although there are many agents to choose from when treating hypertension in patients with acute aortic disease, all regimens should include a beta blocker (like esmolol) unless contraindicated. Initiation of a beta blocker before another antihypertensive agent is added is crucial as this will prevent reflex tachycardia associated with vasodilators and other afterload reducers. Reflex tachycardia may worsen the dissection.