In this study, we assessed whether the down-regulation of Yes-associated protein (YAP) is involved in the pathogenesis of extracellular matrix (ECM) mechanical stress-induced Stanford type A aortic dissection (STAAD). Human aortic samples were obtained from heart transplantation donors as normal controls and from STAAD patients undergoing surgical replacement of the ascending aorta. Decreased maximum aortic wall velocity, ECM disorders, increased VSMC apoptosis, and YAP down-regulation were identified in STAAD samples. In a mouse model of STAAD, YAP was down-regulated over time during the development of ECM damage, and increased VSMC apoptosis was also observed. YAP knockdown induced VSMC apoptosis under static conditions in vitro, and the change in mechanical stress induced YAP down-regulation and VSMC apoptosis. This study provides evidence that YAP down-regulation caused by the disruption of mechanical stress is associated with the development of STAAD via the induction of apoptosis in aortic VSMCs. As STAAD is among the most elusive and life-threatening vascular diseases, better understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of STAAD is critical to improve clinical outcome.