+1 Recommend
1 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found

      Weight Lifting and Aortic Dissection: More Evidence for a Connection

      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


          Background/Aims: In 2003, we reported on a small number of patients in whom acute aortic dissection appeared to be causally related to intense weight lifting. If additional cases could be identified, the phenomenon of weight lifting induced aortic dissection would be further substantiated. We now report a substantially larger number of cases in which aortic dissection is associated with intense physical exertion. Methods: Additional cases of acute aortic dissection occurring at the time of intense physical exertion were accumulated and analyzed. Cases were culled from retrospective review of a large university data base and from reports forwarded to our attention from around the country. We determined type of activity bringing on symptoms, age and sex of the patients, location of the dissection (ascending or descending aorta), aortic size, therapy, and survival. Results: We identified 31 patients in whom acute aortic dissection occurred in the context of severe physical exertion, predominantly weight lifting or similar activities. All patients except one were males. Mean age was 47.3 (range = 19–76). All except four dissections were in the ascending aorta. Only three patients (9.7%) had a family history of aortic disease. Mean aortic diameter on the initial imaging study was 4.63 cm. Twenty-six of the 31 cases were diagnosed ante-mortem and 5 post-mortem. Overall, 10 of the 31 patients (32.2%) died. Of 24 patients reaching surgical therapy, 20 (83.3%) survived. Conclusion: Weight lifting related acute aortic dissection appears to be a real phenomenon, with increasing evidence for the association of extreme exertion with this catastrophic aortic event. Moderate aortic dilatation confers vulnerability to exertion-related aortic dissection. Individuals with known aortic dilatation should be cautioned to refrain from weight lifting or strenuous exertion. Routine echocardiographic screening of individuals engaging in heavy strength training should be considered, in order to prevent this tragic loss of life.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 5

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Mechanical deterioration underlies malignant behavior of aneurysmal human ascending aorta.

          The human ascending aorta becomes markedly prone to rupture and dissection at a diameter of 6 cm. The mechanical substrate for this malignant behavior is unknown. This investigation applied engineering analysis to human ascending aortic aneurysms and compared their structural characteristics with those of normal aortas. We measured the mechanical characteristics of the aorta by direct epiaortic echocardiography at the time of surgery in 33 patients with ascending aortic aneurysm undergoing aortic replacement and in 20 control patients with normal aortas undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting. Six parameters were measured in all patients: aortic diameter in systole and diastole, aortic wall thickness in systole and diastole, and blood pressure in systole and diastole. These were used to calculate mechanical characteristics of the aorta from standard equations. Aortic distensibility reflects the elastic qualities of the aorta. Aortic wall stress reflects the disrupting force experienced within the aortic wall. Incremental elastic modulus indicates loss of elasticity reserve. Aortic distensibility falls to extremely low levels as aortic dimension rises toward 6 cm (3.02 mm Hg(-1) for small aortas versus 1.45 mm Hg(-1) for aortas larger than 5 cm, P < .05). Aortic wall stress rises to 157.8 kPa for the aneurysmal aorta, compared with 92.5 kPa for normal aortas. For 6-cm aortas at pressures of 200 mm Hg or more, wall stress rises to 857 kPa, nearly exceeding the known maximal tensile strength of human aneurysmal aortic wall. Incremental elastic modulus deteriorates (1.93 +/- 0.88 MPa vs 1.18 +/- 0.21 MPa, P < .05) in aneurysmal aortas relative to that in normal aortas. The mechanical properties of the aneurysmal aorta deteriorate dramatically as the aorta enlarges, reaching critical levels associated with rupture by a diameter of 6 cm. This mechanical deterioration provides an explanation in engineering terms for the malignant clinical behavior (rupture and dissection) of the aorta at these dimensions. This work adds to our fundamental understanding of the biology of aortic aneurysms and promises to permit future application of engineering measurements to supplement aneurysm size in clinical decision making in aneurysmal disease.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: not found
            • Article: not found

            Beating a Sudden Killer

              • Record: found
              • Abstract: found
              • Article: not found

              Ascending aortic dissection in weight lifters with cystic medial degeneration.

              We report 4 cases of ascending aortic dissection in patients with long histories of weight lifting. In 2 of the patients, the initial symptoms of dissection developed while they were lifting weights. Two patients had a history of hypertension and 2 had previously used anabolic steroids. All 4 were successfully treated surgically. Histopathology showed aortic medial changes in all 4. We believe that the hemodynamic stresses of weight lifting, namely, a rapid increase in systemic arterial blood pressure without a decrease in total peripheral vascular resistance, in combination with aortic medial degeneration may have contributed to the development of the aortic dissection.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                February 2007
                14 July 2006
                : 107
                : 2
                : 103-106
                Section of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn., USA
                94530 Cardiology 2007;107:103–106
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

                Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug. Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.

                Page count
                Tables: 1, References: 6, Pages: 4
                Original Research


                Comment on this article