University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW) and North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) had the honour today, Thursday 16th September, of jointly hosting the 6th annual Aortic Dissection Awareness Day, to be held at the M-Shed in Bristol .

Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition involving a tear in the body’s largest artery, the aorta, which carries blood from the heart to the brain, limbs and vital organs. Once thought to be a rare condition, it is now known that aortic dissection kills more people in the UK each year than road traffic accidents.

The Bristol Aortic Service was awarded the honour of hosting the event by the national patient association Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland, in recognition of the excellent work the city’s two NHS hospital Trusts have done to improve diagnosis and outcomes for aortic dissection patients.

120 patients, relatives and healthcare professionals attended Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK, with hundreds more watching online.

Dr Emma Redfern and Prof Mark Callway from UHBW

Mr. Gareth Owens, Chair of Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland and an aortic dissection survivor himself, said: “Each year, we award the honour of hosting our flagship annual event to a centre that is doing great work in the field of Aortic Dissection.

“The team here in Bristol have transformed their approach to diagnosing and treating Aortic Dissection and it is saving lives. The successful Bristol approach is an example to the NHS nationally. We decided to come to Bristol to highlight that and to promote what has happened here as best practice for other units across the UK”.

Dr. Emma Redfern, consultant in emergency medicine and Interim Medical Director at UHBW, explained:

“With my radiology colleague Prof. Mark Callaway and our teams, we have implemented a new approach which involves better educating staff to help them diagnose aortic dissection, and making it easier to obtain a CT scan of the whole aorta, which these patients need.

“We’re delighted that the effectiveness of our approach has been recognised by Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland and we look forward to welcoming them to Bristol.”