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Aortic Dissection: Diagnosis

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 18th February 2020.

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Photo of Pauline Latham Pauline Latham Conservative, Mid Derbyshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to ensure the adequate diagnosis of Aortic Dissection at A&E departments.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

We recognise that accurate and rapid assessment of suspected acute aortic dissection is crucial. Computerised tomography plays a central role in the diagnosis to allow expedited management and all acute hospitals with emergency departments have the capacity to make the diagnosis.

NHS England and NHS Improvement are aware of the findings of the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch’s recent investigation into delayed recognition of acute Aortic Dissection, and these recommendations have been included in the actions being taken forward with hospitals.

NHS England and NHS Improvement Specialised Commissioning is progressing the Thoracic Aortic Dissection service specification and have identified resource to support this as one of the priorities within the Specialised Vascular Clinical Group work programme.

It should also be noted that the NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Getting It Right First Time Cardiothoracic Review recommended that acute aortic syndrome patients are only operated on by rotas of acute aortic syndrome specialist teams. This is being actioned across cardiac and vascular teams. The NHS England and NHS Improvement Specialised Cardiac Improvement Programme has developed a guide and toolkit to support implementation with the first Region rolling out from April 2020.

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