Ending Thoracic Aortic Dissection

September 2021 – As part of Aortic Dissection Awareness Week 2021, Dr. Dianna Milewicz, Alana Cecchi, Bella Marin, and Ellen Hostetler discuss the latest advances and research discoveries related to thoracic aortic dissection. With research, advocacy, and engagement of patient and clinician communities we can end thoracic aortic dissection and save lives.

The John Ritter Research Program seeks to uncover the genetic factors that cause some people to have a higher risk of developing thoracic aortic aneurysms and dissections. Identifying the genes responsible for thoracic aortic disease will increase early diagnosis, improve management of the condition, and save lives by preventing aortic dissections. Currently, only 30% of the genes that can cause thoracic aortic disease are known. In collaboration with The John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health, Dr. Dianna Milewicz established The John Ritter Research Program in Aortic and Vascular Diseases at UTHealth in 2010. As of 2023, over 1500 families are enrolled in this groundbreaking genetic research study. The research program is completely free to participate in and can be done from your own home. The study team is currently recruiting individuals with a personal history of thoracic aortic dissection.

If you have been diagnosed with a thoracic aortic dissection, or lost a family member with this condition, please contact the study coordinator by email at JRRP.research@uth.tmc.edu or by phone at 713-500-6715. The study coordinator will explain the research to you, review your family history, and help you enroll in the research study that you qualify for. Learn more about the John Ritter Research program.

Headshot of Dr. Dianna Milewicz, a blonde doctor wearing a red blazer

Dianna M. Milewicz, M.D., Ph.D., is the President George H.W. Bush Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine, Director of the Division of Medical Genetics and Vice-Chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). She is the Director of the John Ritter Research Program and serves as the chair of The John Ritter Foundation’s Professional Advisory Board.