Acute aortic pathologies include traumatic and nontraumatic life-threatening emergencies of the aorta. Since the clinical manifestation of these entities can be non-specific and may overlap with other conditions presenting with chest pain, non-invasive imaging plays a crucial role in their rapid and accurate evaluation. The early diagnosis and accurate radiological assessment of acute aortic diseases is essential for improved clinical outcomes. Multidetector CT is the imaging modality of choice for evaluation of acute aortic diseases with MRI playing more of a problem-solving role. The management can be medical, endovascular or surgical depending upon pathology, and imaging remains an indispensable management-guiding tool. It is important to understand the pathogenesis, natural history, and imaging principles of acute aortic diseases for appropriate use of advanced imaging modalities. This understanding helps to formulate a more appropriate management and follow-up plan for optimised care of these patients. Imaging reporting pearls for day-to-day radiology as well as treatment options based on latest multidisciplinary guidelines are discussed. With newer techniques of image acquisition and processing, we are hopeful that imaging would further help in predicting aortic disease progression and assessing the haemodynamic parameters based on which decisions on management can be made.
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