Every year, more than 16,000 Americans die as a result of what's known as an “aortic dissection” — a catastrophic rupture of the aorta, the body's largest artery. Once thought to be a simple structural failure, aortic dissection is now understood to be caused by an inflammatory process that weakens the artery's walls. UTMB researchers have been at the forefront of understanding this process. UTMB professor Allan Brasier is the senior author of the paper now online in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. The news also appears in Vascular News, Medical News Today and Medical Xpress.