Both are life-threatening but in different ways. A heart attack and an aortic dissection are two distinct medical events. Members of the public often use the term 'heart attack' to describe any severe problem with the heart but for the medical profession this describes a specific issue. It's important to understand the difference when describing your medical history or your family history at appointments. 

Heart attack (myocardial infarction) 

- a life-threatening problem when the blood supply to part of the heart muscle is
cut off due to a blockage in the coronary arteries (small blood vessels on the
surface of the heart that supply it with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to

Aortic dissection

 - a life-threatening problem due to a tear in the main blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. 

Symptoms can sometimes be similar but they are very different problems that require very
different treatment. 

The Marfan Trust is registered in England and Wales under charity number 328070 at c/o 24 Oakfield Lane, Keston, Kent, BR2 6BY. Contact us at [email protected] or by phone on + 44 (0)333 011 5256
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