Failure to Diagnose Aortic Aneurysm or Aortic Dissection

Austin Kirk

By Austin Kirk
Posted November 18, 2016


Aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm are serious medical emergencies, where a delay in diagnosis can be the difference between a treatable condition and wrongful death.

In addition to potential misdiagnosis lawsuits that may be pursued against medical providers who failed to diagnose signs or symptoms, it appears that many individuals may have experienced severe injuries due to inadequate warnings provided about the risk of an aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection from side effects of Levaquin, Avelox and other popular antibiotics.

Levaquin, Avelox and other fluoroquinolone-based antibiotics have been commonly used for years, yet the medical community has been quickly limiting use of the drugs as more and more serious health risks have been uncovered.

Most recently, studies have suggested that users face an increased risk of experiencing an aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection from Levaquin, Avelox and related antibiotics. However, neither users or the medical community have ever been provided warnings about the risk, which may have allowed early signs and symptoms to be detected.

Importance of Early Aortic Aneurysm and Aortic Dissection Diagnosis

The aorta is the main artery in the human body, traveling from the left ventricle of the heart to the abdomen.

An aortic aneurysm occurs when the walls of the artery weaken, resulting in an abnormal bulge as the pressure in the aorta causes the weakened area to balloon outward. This can result in severe pain, internal injuries, bleeding and death.

An aortic dissection is similar to an aortic aneurysms, except they occur between the layers of the aorta itself. Aortic dissections cause a separation of the middle and inner layers of the artery, cutting off blood flow. Unlike aortic aneurysms, which may not cause serious problems when small, aortic dissections can quickly result in a fatal rupture.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that aortic aneurysms and dissections were the primary cause of death in 9,863 cases in the U.S. in 2014, and a contributing cause of death in more than 17,215 deaths in 2009.

Early symptoms may include:

  • Sudden and Severe Upper Chest or Upper Back Pain
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Trouble Speaking
  • Vision Loss
  • Weakness or Paralysis On One Side Of the Body
  • One Arm Having A Weaker Pulse Than The Other

Warnings May Have Allowed Proper Diagnosis

According to a November 2010 case study in Signa Vitae, between 31% and 39% of acute aortic dissection cases are misdiagnosed, often as a heart attack. This may result in doctors making medication mistakes and prescribing their patients blood thinners, which increases the risk of the patient bleeding to death.

Another study published in the American Journal of Cardiology in 2007 had similar findings, indicating that misdiagnosis occurred in 39% of cases of acute aortic syndrome, which includes acute aortic dissection, as well as intramural hematoma and penetrating ulcer of the aorta. That study found that exposure to blood thinners resulted in higher rates of major bleeding and an increased risk of death.

These statistics highlight the importance of warning about the aortic aneurysm and aortic dissection risk with Levaquin, Avelox and other fluoroquinolones.

Many individuals could have avoided the problems altogether through use of a different type of antibiotics, or doctors and users could have been on the look out for early signs and symptoms while using the medication.

In addition, if doctors knew about the risks among users of the antibiotics, they would have been less likely to make a medical misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose aortic aneurysm and dissection injuries.

Aortic Aneurysm Lawsuits and Aortic Dissection Lawsuits

The product liability lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. are currently reviewing Levaquin lawsuits, Avelox lawsuits and Cipro lawsuits due to the drug makers’ failure to warn about the risk of aortic dissection or aortic aneurysm among users of the antibiotics. Unfortunately many of these claims are now wrongful death lawsuits, highlighting the devastating consequences of the pharmaceutical companies’ decision to place their desire for profits before consumer safety.

In addition to these cases, our lawyers are also reviewing peripheral neuropathy lawsuits for users of Avelox, Levaquin and other fluoroquinolones who have been left with devastating nerve damage associated with the medications.

Financial compensation may also be available through a medical malpractice lawsuit for individuals with a misdiagnosed aortic aneurysm or aortic dissection injury.

All claims are handled on a contingency fee basis, meaning there are no out of pocket expenses and no fees unless a recovery is obtained. Request a free consultation and claim evaluation by calling our law firm toll free at 1-800-522-0102 or clicking the link below.


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