It was a regular day for 34-year-old Hinoo Kumar who went about his regular activities until he began experiencing chest pain. He initially disregarded the pain for gas, but the pain lingered until it became acute and radiated until his back.
He was rushed to Fakeeh University Hospital's emergency department, severely unstable. Specialists at the emergency promptly and accurately diagnosed him as having an aortic dissection. This is a life-threatening condition in which the aorta carrying oxygenated blood to the body, ruptures, separating the inner and middle layers.
Recognizing the urgency of the situation, Hinoo was taken in for an emergency cardiac surgery at FUH’s Heart Institute under the leadership of Dr. Faouzi Safadi, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgery.
“I feel I’m blessed with a new life, so I know I was in extremely capable hands. I’m not completely back to normal but I can do pretty much everything I want to. I must wait a bit longer to get back to work but I have a lot I’m thankful for since it could have turned any other way for someone with my condition. I thank the Dr and the team at Fakeeh University Hospital for everything that they did for me,” said Hinoo.
Hinoo suffered from Type Aortic dissection which is the most common and dangerous of the two types of aortic dissection – Type A and Type B. In Type A, a tear occurs in the ascending aorta – the largest artery in the body. People with uncontrolled BP are at high risk of developing aortic dissection. This was also identified as a major factor in Hinoo’s case along with morbid obesity and genetic predisposition.
The incidence of aortic dissection is identified as 3-4 in every 100,000 people per year and can result in high mortality if not identified early. Most likely to occur in older patients, the condition also causes death in as many as 20% of patients, because the condition progresses quickly, and they reach the hospital in time. 
“We took Hinoo in for emergency surgery since his condition was deteriorating and any delay would highly increase the risk of other organs being affected. The major risk in this surgery was the development of ischemia. Aortic dissection is a complex surgery, and in this case, his damaged aorta was removed. Since Hinoo was wheeled in for an emergency surgery, he required highly specialized care, that was offered at FUH’s Heart Institute. A multi-disciplinary approach to care including prompt actions from the emergency team, expert surgeons, a well-equipped ICU and the availability of modern technologies helped us work towards ensuring Hinoo went home happy with a healthy heart,” said Dr. Faouzi Safadi, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgery at Fakeeh University Hospital.
The surgery was successful, and Hinoo walked 2 days after surgery. He left FUH after a week in observation and with a new lease of life.
Aortic dissection is a complex medical emergency commonly associated with advanced age and pre-existing cardiovascular diseases. However, recent studies suggest that the incidence of aortic dissection is on the rise among younger populations, including individuals in their 30s and 40s. This trend is concerning, as it indicates a shift in the typical demographics affected by severe heart conditions.
“Hypertension or high BP is a significant risk factor for aortic dissection. This was also one of the key causative factors in Hinoo’s case. Younger people, particularly in this part of the region, are most likely to develop hypertension because of unhealthy lifestyle habits and stress,” added Dr. Faouzi Safadi.
Aortic dissection in younger people may be related to a combination of factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and cultural habits that increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Aortic dissection is an open-heart complex emergency caused when the inner layer of the aorta, the largest artery in the body carrying blood from the heart to other parts of the body ruptures. A tear in the inner layer of the aorta causes the blood to flow between the layers of the aortic wall, causing it to bulge/swell.
The causes of aortic dissection can be broadly categorized into modifiable risk factors and non-modifiable risk factors. Non-modifiable risk factors include age, gender, and genetic conditions. Modifiable risk factors include high BP, smoking, and previous medical procedures of the aorta, like heart surgery.
Treatment options include medication, surgical intervention, or a combination of both. Medications may lower the BP and decrease the risk of further tearing or rupture. Surgery may be required to replace the damaged portion of the aorta or repair the aortic wall.
Fakeeh University Hospital's Heart Institute is a state-of-the-art institute dedicated to diagnosis, treatment, and management of various heart conditions, from as early as 5 weeks of life. Equipped with the latest smart diagnostic technologies and staffed with a highly skilled and experienced team of Cardiologists offering Preventive & Interventional Cardiology, Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery, the Heart Institute offers comprehensive heart care.
The Heart Institute at Fakeeh University Hospital offers a plethora of services, including cardiac diagnostic testing, interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, cardiovascular surgery, and cardiac rehabilitation. Committed to provide holistic, personalized, and evidence-based care to all, FUH’s Heart Institute works towards enhancing your quality of life by making your heart smart.