Author

Andrew Ku

Date of Award

2018

First Advisor

David Myers

Second Advisor

Michael Bergman

Abstract

An aortic dissection is defined by the Mayo clinic as “a serious condition in which the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off the heart, tears” [1]. The immediate management of aortic dissection typically involves administering antihypertensive drugs to prevent hypertension from extending the dissection. Two antihypertensive drugs in particular appear particularly useful--Clevidipine, a calcium channel blocker drug approved in 2008, and Nitroprusside, a drug approved for clinical use since 1974[11]. There has not yet been an extensive study comparing the effects of Clevidipine or Nitroprusside. This thesis study investigates the length of stay and mortality rates for patients under different treatments of Nitroprusside and Clevidipine. We find that for the given sample sizes, there is a statistically significant difference in length of stay but no statistically significant difference in mortality rates for Type A dissections, while there is no statistically significant difference in length of stay and no statistically significant difference in mortality rates for Type B dissections. Additionally, the effects of antihypertensive drugs on dissection are theoretical, so we ran an experiment determining the effects of high fluid pressure on fenestrated pig aortas. We find that higher pressures do indeed result in deeper dissections.

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