Acute paraplegia: A presenting manifestation of aortic dissection

David N. Zull*, Rita Cydulka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Two patients who presented with acute paralysis of the lower extremities as an initial manifestation of aortic dissection are described. The first patient had transient chest pain followed by flaccid paralysis of her lower extremities and severe back pain. In the second patient, sudden paralysis of both legs developed without pain of any sort. The paraplegia completely resolved in a few minutes; however, chest and back pain later ensued. Both patients had a proximal (type I or A) aortic dissection. The first patient's entrance tear in the aortic intima was just above the aortic valve with antegrade propagation, whereas in the second patient, the entrance tear was at the aortic isthmus, with both antegrade and retrograde dissection. Acute cardiac tamponade resulted in sudden deterioration and death in both patients, before any therapeutic intervention could be entertained.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-770
Number of pages6
JournalThe American journal of medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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