06 Jul Misdiagnosis of Thoracic Aortic Emergencies Occurs Frequently Among Transfers to Aortic Referral Centers: An Analysis of Over 3700 Patients
Journal of the American Heart Association, Volume 11, Issue 13, July 5, 2022.
BackgroundAcute aortic syndromes may be prone to misdiagnosis by nonreferral aortic centers with less diagnostic experience. We evaluated regional variability in these misdiagnosis trends among patients transferred to different regional quaternary care centers with presumed acute aortic syndromes.Methods and ResultsTwo institutional aortic center databases were retrospectively reviewed for emergency transfers in patients diagnosed with acute aortic dissection, intramural hematoma, penetrating aortic ulcer, thoracic aortic aneurysm, or aortic pseudoaneurysm between 2008 and 2020. Transferring diagnoses versus actual diagnoses were reviewed using physician notes and radiology reports. Misdiagnoses were confirmed by a board‐certified cardiothoracic surgeon. A total of 3772 inpatient transfers were identified, of which 1762 patients were classified as emergency transfers. The mean age was 64 years (58% male). Patients were transferred from 203 medical centers by ground (51%) or air (49%). Differences in transfer diagnosis and actual diagnosis were identified in 188 (10.7%) patients. Of those, incorrect classification of Type A versus B dissections was identified among 23%, and 30% of patients with a referring diagnosis of an acute aortic dissection did not have one. In addition, 14% transferred for contained/impending rupture did not have signs of rupture. All misdiagnoses were secondary to misinterpretation of imaging, with motion artifacts (n=32, 17%) and postsurgical changes (n=44, 23%) being common sources of diagnostic error.ConclusionsMisdiagnosis of acute aortic syndromes commonly occurred in patients transferred to 2 separate large aortic referral centers. Although diagnostic accuracy may be improving, there are opportunities for improved physician awareness through standardized web‐based imaging education.