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Aortic dissection. Coloured computed tomography (CT) scan of a patient with a dissection of the aorta, the major artery from the heart (red, centre). The damaged area is seen as an inverted 'U' (yellow, bottom centre), inside the rib cage (brown). The front of the patient is at the top. This fatal condition arises when there is bleeding into and along the wall of the aorta, caused by trauma to the inner wall of the artery. The bleeding causes the layers of the aorta's wall to dissect apart. Treatments include drugs that lower blood pressure and surgical repair or replacement of the section of damaged aorta. This condition is most common in men aged 40 to 70.
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