Public Awareness, Acute Aortic Syndrome (AAS)

Los Angeles, CA, May 31, 2008 --( Acute Aortic Syndrome Research Program, a student organization at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and the only student organization at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) has launched a public awareness campaign to educate the public in regards with Acute Aortic Syndrome (AAS) a newly proposed Medical/Surgical emergency. The Acute Aortic Syndrome Research Program was Co-founded by two undergraduate UCLA pre-medical bound students Saman Setareh-Shenas and Kaveh Zivari under the mentorship of Dr. Sharo S. Raissi Director of Thoracic Aortic Surgery Program and Co-Director of CSICU at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. The goal of Acute Aortic Syndrome Research Program is to provide leadership, citizenship, service learning and simultaneously provide undergraduate students with clinical experience and to promote research and public awareness on AAS.

Students in the Acute Aortic Syndrome Research Program have a key role in creating new diagnostic and treatment protocols, and educating the public in regards with this new Medical/Surgical emergency. The AAS Students and research associates are present at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) working with patients, doctors, nurses, and paramedics. However, according to the Co-founders of the Acute Aortic Syndrome Research Program Saman Setareh-Shenas and Kaveh Zivari, “the dedication of AAS team members does not stop at this point, but our members reach further than our UCLA & CSMC communities.” As an example, of one of AAS Research Program outreach projects, in Spring of 2008 in conjunction with UCLA Honors Collegium 127 course various students were incorporated from different educational backgrounds and fields to gain experience in Leadership, Service learning, and Citizenship, under the direct mentorship of Dr. Suzanne L. Seplow the Director of the Office of Residential Life and Dr. Lori Vogelgesang the Director of the Center for Service Learning Research and Dissemination at the Higher Education Research Institute at UCLA.

The public awareness project was launched by educating Fire Fighters/Paramedics (e.g. presentations were given to Los Angeles Fire Department Fire Station #37 Westwood/UCLA), EMT/First Emergency Responders, and participated in various health fares (e.g. China Town Health Fare in conjunction with Asian Pacific Health Corp at UCLA).

Newly proposed Acute Aortic Syndrome (AAS) is a true Medical/Surgical emergency and if not promptly diagnosed and treated could lead to death. Acute Aortic Syndrome (AAS) refers to the presence of abnormalities to the Aorta, the largest artery in the body. These abnormalities include aneurysms that could be caused by weakening of the aorta, congenital such as bicuspid aortic valve due to tissue abnormalities, or other factors which could contribute to this disease throughout one’s life. Some of the symptoms of Acute Aortic Syndrome includes chest pain associated with the aorta, stomach/abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and the symptoms may range from mild to extremely severe. If it is not treated promptly it can be associated with a high rate of morbidity and mortality. The fact that Acute Aortic Syndrome (AAS) can present with similarities to Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) potentially can be a diagnostic challenge. Even William Osler the modern father of medicine said, “There is no disease more conducive to clinical humility than aneurysm of the aorta.” Accordingly, at times patients who are presented with acute chest pain and similar complains as Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) are being evaluated for ischemic heart disease and possible heart attack. According to a recent article published in the American Journal of Cardiology 39% of identified AAS patients had been misdiagnosed, with the most common misdiagnosis of Acute Coronary Syndrome resulting in an inappropriate treatment which contributed to an increase in mortality rate. Worldwide acceptance of recommended Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) protocol for ACS has lead to improved survival. Conversely, lack of well publicized protocol, research, and public awareness for Acute Aortic Syndrome (AAS) has created difficulties and inefficiencies in patients well being and survival.

One famous example of misdiagnosis of AAS was the incident that happened to John Ritter. John had an aortic dissection due to AAS. He was taken to a hospital but was diagnosed with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) instead of AAS and by the time that mistake was discovered he had passed away at the age of 54. Furthermore, AAS does not discriminate between age, gender, or race, consequently equally it affects people from all over the world and is observed in all ethnicities, nationalities, and backgrounds.

UCLA Acute Aortic Syndrome Student Research Program
Kaveh Zivari
(888) 310-HOPE