Acute and chronic aortic diseases have been diagnosed and studied by physicians for centuries. Both the diagnosis and treatment of aortic diseases have been steadily improving over time, largely because of increased physician awareness and improvements in diagnostic modalities. This comprehensive review discusses the pathophysiology and risk factors, classification schemes, epidemiology, clinical presentations, diagnostic modalities, management options, and outcomes of various aortic conditions, including acute aortic dissection (and its variants intramural hematoma and penetrating aortic ulcers) and thoracic aortic aneurysms. Literature searches of the PubMed database were conducted using the following keywords: aortic dissection, intramural hematoma, aortic ulcer, and thoracic aortic aneurysm. Retrospective and prospective studies performed within the past 20 years were included in the review; however, most data are from the past 15 years.
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