Misdiagnosis of acute Aortic Dissection: THINK AORTA
THINK AORTA gave evidence to a Coroner's Inquest, which led to us working with Barts Health NHS Trust to better understand the causes of misdiagnosis.
Our Chair, Mr. Gareth Owens, in the Resus bay of the Royal London Hospital Emergency Department shortly before his aortic dissection was diagnosed in 2016. He returned in 2022 to deliver our THINK AORTA education module for all ED staff and to support a research study into the causes of misdiagnosis.
The tragic death of Londoner Paul Sartori, 38, from a misdiagnosed aortic dissection in 2019 deeply affected our Chair, Mr. Gareth Owens, whose life was saved at the same NHS Trust three years previously when he also presented to the Emergency Department with an acute aortic dissection.
Working with Dr. Samy Sadek and Dr. Farhin Holia from the Royal London Hospital Emergency Department, Gareth represented the charity and THINK AORTA in a multi-centre 10-year retrospective observational cohort study of misdiagnosis of acute aortic dissection across the four EDs that are part of Barts Health NHS Trust. The study identified and analysed 21 cases of misdiagnosis.
The study results, presented as a poster by Dr. Holia, won 'best poster' at the Barts Aortovascular Symposium 900, held at the Royal College of Physicians in June 2023.
The key findings were that misdiagnosis often occurs due to atypical patient presentations (i.e. not as documented in the textbooks) and knowledge gaps among Emergency Department staff. These are issues that the THINK AORTA campaign launched by our patient charity in partnership with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, the Society for Cardiothoracic Surgery and Heart Research UK is addressing.
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