Hollywood actress addresses aortic dissection conference

On Thursday 19 September, the University of Leicester plays host to the fourth annual Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK, an invitation-only event for aortic dissection patients, relatives and selected healthcare professionals.

Aortic dissection (AD) is a serious condition in which the inner layer of the aorta tears, causing blood to flow between the inner and middle layers, separating (dissecting) those layers. If this occurs, it is a medical agency and can be fatal. Although relatively little known, aortic dissection kills more people in the UK each year than road traffic accidents.

Aortic Dissection Awareness Day is a global campaign with events in more than 20 countries, of which the UK event is the largest, with 180 delegates. The keynote speech will be delivered by Hollywood actress Amy Yasbeck, founded of the world’s largest AD charity, the John Ritter Foundation.

Yasbeck, whose credits include Pretty Woman, The Mask and Mel Brooks’ Dracula: Dead and Love It and Robin Hood: Men in Tights, was married to actor John Ritter, with whom she starred in Problem Child and its sequel. Ritter (best known to US audiences for the long-running sitcom Three’s Company) died in September 2003 after being misdiagnosed with a heart attack which was actually AD.

Aortic Dissection Awareness Day UK is organised by Aortic Dissection Awareness (UK & Ireland), the national patient association for people affected by Aortic Dissection and their families.