Premature closure is a type of cognitive error in which the physician fails to consider reasonable alternatives after an initial diagnosis is made. It is a common cause of delayed diagnosis and misdiagnosis borne out of a faulty clinical decision-making process. The authors present a case of aortic dissection in which premature closure was avoided by the aggressive pursuit of the appropriate differential diagnosis, and discuss the importance of disciplined clinical decision-making in the setting of chest pain.
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