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Ongoing Blood Pressure Change in Both Upper Extremities: An Unusual Presentation of Aortic Dissection

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Author(s): Hung Yi Chen

Journal: International Journal of Clinical Medicine
ISSN 2158-284X

Volume: 02;
Issue: 04;
Start page: 463;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Aortic Dissection | Blood Pressure | Pulseless Upper Extremities

ABSTRACT
Aortic dissection is a critical condition requiring immediate assessment and management. Patients with this condition usually present with severe chest pain and high blood pressure. However, because of the variety of presenting symptoms and features, it is a challenge to identify this condition, and patients are frequently misdiagnosed. The potentially critical course of aortic dissection can result in tragedy. We present the case of a 46-year-old woman who initially presented with a light headache and sensory loss in her right upper limb. She had a medical history of hypertension without regular medication, and her blood pressure (BP) was 110/67 mmHg on arrival. Four days later, she was sent to the emergency department again because she experienced transient loss of consciousness lasting for a few minutes. Her BP was 94/57 mmHg in the right arm and 89/54 in the left arm. She was admitted to the hospital, and the pulses in both upper limbs were impalpable on the following day. Chest magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was arranged, and subsequently, aortic dissection was diagnosed. The case presented with unusual characteristics, which increased the difficulty in immediate correct diagnosis.

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