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JYMS : Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science

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Chaeeun Kim 1 Article
Atypical presentation of DeBakey type I aortic dissection mimicking pulmonary embolism in a pregnant patient: a case report
Sou Hyun Lee, Ji Hee Hong, Chaeeun Kim
Received December 4, 2023  Accepted December 28, 2023  Published online February 5, 2024  
DOI: https://doi.org/10.12701/jyms.2023.01319    [Epub ahead of print]
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Aortic dissection in pregnant patients results in an inpatient mortality rate of 8.6%. Owing to the pronounced mortality rate and speed at which aortic dissections progress, efficient early detection methods are crucial. Here, we highlight the importance of early chest computed tomography (CT) for differentiating aortic dissection from pulmonary embolism in pregnant patients with dyspnea. We present the unique case of a 38-year-old pregnant woman with elevated D-dimer and N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) levels, initially suspected of having a pulmonary embolism. Initial transthoracic echocardiography did not indicate aortic dissection. Surprisingly, after an emergency cesarean section, a chest CT scan revealed a DeBakey type I aortic dissection, indicating a diagnostic error. Our findings emphasize the need for early chest CT in pregnant patients with dyspnea and elevated D-dimer and NT-proBNP levels. This case report highlights the critical importance of considering both aortic dissection and pulmonary embolism in the differential diagnosis of such cases, which will inform future clinical practice.

JYMS : Journal of Yeungnam Medical Science