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Life-saving THINK AORTA campaign launched in Canada

Posted on 27th April 2024

Our life-saving THINK AORTA campaign is being launched across Canada by our international partner GADA - the Genetic Aortic Diseases Association of Canada.

Life-saving THINK AORTA campaign launched in Canada

Acute Aortic Dissection is a lethal disease involving a tear in the body’s main artery, the Aorta, which affects 6 in 100,000 people worldwide. Untreated, mortality is as high as 1-2% per hour.

In 2018, a small group of survivors from national patient charity Aortic Dissection Awareness UK & Ireland launched the THINK AORTA campaign to improve detection, diagnosis and treatment of Aortic Dissection. The patient-led movement attracted the endorsement of leading medical societies, including the Royal College of Emergency Medicine in the UK and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons in the US. In 2023, a national cardiac surgery audit credited the THINK AORTA campaign with responsibility for a 68% increase in patients having emergency surgery for acute Aortic Dissection in the UK, meaning that an additional 250 patients per year are receiving the life-saving surgery that they need.

Official data (collected in a sample from Ontario) reveals that Canada is significantly under detecting, under diagnosing, and under-treating cases of Aortic Dissection. The detection rate for Aortic Dissection in Ontario is only 0.61 per 100,000 people, which is 10 times lower than the global rate*.

Action is needed to improve this and save lives. THINK AORTA has become the de facto education campaign and diagnostic strategy for acute Aortic Dissection around the world. In 2020 it was rolled-out to 6,000 Emergency Departments across the US. There are now active THINK AORTA campaigns on five continents and the life-saving THINK AORTA poster is available in the native language of 50% of the world’s population.

Today, we announce the launch of THINK AORTA Canada.

In partnership with the Genetic Aortic Disorders Association Canada (GADA Canada), THINK AORTA Canada, led by GADA President Lindsey Rusche, is launching at the American Association of Thoracic Surgeons Annual Meeting at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto from 27-30 April.

GADA Canada is a patient advocacy organization committed to saving lives and ensuring a promising future for individuals living with genetic aortic disorders. For 37 years, GADA has been the only organization that supports the growing number of genetic aortic disorders (GAD) and where aneurysms or aortic dissections are life threatening. GADA Canada co-founded and supports the world’s largest heritable aortic disease research collaboration, Montalcino Aortic Consortium, and is proud to partner with THINK AORTA to improve aortic dissection patient outcomes in Canada. 

Gareth Owens, the Aortic Dissection survivor who leads the global THINK AORTA campaign, is travelling to Toronto from the UK for the launch. He says “Canada has the same problem as many countries around the world – most of its citizens who have an Aortic Dissection die, due to a lack of awareness of the condition, misdiagnosis, and delays in receiving life-saving treatment. In the past, there was little we could do for these people. Now, with prompt diagnosis and modern medicine/surgery, we know how to save their lives and give them a great outcome after Aortic Dissection. I hope that the launch of THINK AORTA Canada will mark the start of a concerted national effort to save the lives of Canadians with Aortic Dissection. I’m delighted that we already have the support of GADA Canada and AATS for the launch of this campaign. I look forward to working with Lindsey (GADA Canada) and the THINK AORTA Canada team as patients, clinicians, healthcare policymakers and the media align themselves to support this national life-saving effort.”

GADA Canada looks forward to supporting the very important lifesaving work of THINK AORTA in Canada.  Please visit for more information. 

*Ohle R, Savage DW, McIsaac S, Yadav K, Caswell J, Conlon M. Epidemiology, mortality and miss rate of acute aortic syndrome in Ontario, Canada: a population-based study. CJEM. 2023 Jan;25(1):57-64. doi: 10.1007/s43678-022-00413-x. Epub 2023

Jan 10. PMID: 36627470