The misnomer of uncomplicated type B aortic dissection

Mohamad Bashir*, Matti Jubouri, Sven Z.C.P. Tan, Damian M. Bailey, Bashi Velayudhan, Idhrees Mohammed, Randolph H.L. Wong, Martin Czerny, Edward P. Chen, Leonard N. Girardi, Joseph S. Coselli, Ian Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Background: Acute type B aortic dissection (TBAD) is a rare condition that can be divided into complicated (CoTBAD) and uncomplicated (UnCoTBAD) based on certain presenting clinical and radiological features, with UnCoTBAD constituting the majority of TBAD cases. The classification of TBAD directly affects the treatment pathway taken, however, there remains confusion as to exactly what differentiates complicated from uncomplicated TBAD. 

Aims: The scope of this review is to delineate the literature defining the intervention parameters for UnCoTBAD. 

Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted using multiple electronic databases including PubMed, Scopus, and EMBASE to collate and summarize all research evidence on intervention parameters and protocols for UnCoTBAD. 

Results: A TBAD without evidence of malperfusion or rupture might be classified as uncomplicated but there remains a subgroup who might exhibit high-risk features. Two clinical features representative of “high risk” are refractory pain and persistent hypertension. First-line treatment for CoTBAD is TEVAR, and whilst this has also proven its safety and effectiveness in UnCoTBAD, it is still being managed conservatively. However, TBAD is a dynamic pathology and a significant proportion of UnCoTBADs can progress to become complicated, thus necessitating more complex intervention. While the “high-risk” UnCoTBAD do benefit the most from TEVAR, yet, the defining parameters are still debatable as this benefit can be extended to a wider UnCoTBAD population. 

Conclusion: Uncomplicated TBAD remains a misnomer as it is frequently representative of a complex ongoing disease process requiring very close monitoring in a critical care setting. A clear diagnostic pathway may improve decision making following a diagnosis of UnCoTBAD. Choice of treatment still predominantly depends on when an equilibrium might be reached where the risks of TEVAR outweigh the natural history of the dissection in both the short- and long-term.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16728
Pages (from-to)2761-2765
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Cardiac Surgery
Issue number9
Early online date1 Jul 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


  • complicated
  • TBAD
  • type B aortic dissection
  • uncomplicated


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