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Research note: Predicting a deadly heart condition that runs in families

August 25, 2016

In 2015, Yale researchers developed a strategy for detecting silent but deadly aortic aneurysms — areas of enlargement in arteries — that appear to run in families. Now, professor of surgery John A. Elefteriades and his colleagues report that life-threatening tears in the aorta, or dissections, that result from aneurysms tend to occur in family members at roughly the same age. The research team reviewed data for nearly 300 aortic dissection patients treated from 1990 to 2014 at the Aortic Institute at Yale. Among those patients, more than 50% of those with a family history of aortic tears experienced a dissection within a 10-year age span. “If patients are approaching the age at which one of their family members suffered an aortic dissection, they need to be very vigilant,” said Elefteriades. Timely check-ups and follow up visits for family members of aortic dissection can save lives, he noted.

The study was published on Aug. 25 in The Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Submitted by Lisa Brophy on August 25, 2016