Insight into the incidence of acute aortic dissection in the German region of Berlin and Brandenburg



      Stanford acute type A aortic dissection (ATAAD) is a potentially lethal condition. Epidemiology studies show a statistical incidence in Europe of approximately 2–16 cases/100,000 inhabitants/year. In Germany, the estimated incidence (here subsumed under “thoracic aortic dissection” with 4.63 cases/100,000 inhabitants/year) is mainly extracted from medical death certificates by the German Federal Statistical Office. The prehospital incidence of ATAAD deaths is largely unknown. Since patients often die in the pre-hospital setting, the incidence of ATAAD is therefore likely to be higher than current estimates.

      Material and methods

      For the period from 2010 to 2014, we retrospectively analyzed all in-hospital ATAAD data from two of the largest cardiac surgical centers that treat ATAAD in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. In addition, autopsy reports of all forensic medicine institutes and of one large pathological provider in the region were analyzed to identify additional non-hospitalized ATAAD patients. Based on these findings, the regional incidence of ATAAD was calculated.


      In addition to in-hospital ATAAD patients (n = 405), we identified additional 145 lethal ATAAD cases among 14,201 autopsy reports. The total of 550 ATAAD cases led to an estimated incidence of 11.9 cases/100,000 inhabitants/year for the whole Berlin-Brandenburg region. Arterial hypertension, pre-existing aortic dilatation, and hereditary connective tissue disorder were found in, respectively, 62.7%, 10%, and 1.8% of patients.


      ATAAD is more frequent than previously reported. Our results show that when patients who die outside of cardiac surgery centers are included, the incidence of ATAAD significantly exceeds the rate reported by the Federal Statistical Office.


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