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J Vasc Surg. 2007 Nov;46(5):920-7. Epub 2007 Oct 1.

Endovascular management of acute blunt traumatic thoracic aortic injury: a single center experience.

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Department of Radiology, Barts and The London NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom.



Traumatic injury of the thoracic aorta is a life-threatening complication in patients who sustain deceleration or crush injuries. The magnitude of force necessary to cause blunt thoracic aortic injury results in a high proportion of concomitant injuries, posing a significant challenge for prioritizing management. Open surgical mortality is increased in the presence of coexisting head, lung, and abdominal injuries. Spinal cord ischemia may occur following aortic cross-clamping and operative hypotension. Endovascular stent-graft placement offers a safe, effective, and timely treatment option. The aim of this study was to assess our single center experience of endovascular repair following acute blunt traumatic aortic injury.


Data from thirteen consecutive patients (mean age, 43.2 years; range, 16 to 84 years) with acute blunt traumatic aortic injury treated by endovascular stent-graft insertion between October 2001 and March 2007 was prospectively collected. Demographics, injury characteristics, technique, and complications were recorded. Follow-up data consisted of computed tomographic angiography and plain chest radiography at regular intervals. Mean and median follow-up after stent-graft implantation were 28.9 and 29 months, respectively.


All patients underwent endovascular repair within a median of 9 hours from hospital presentation. Two patients underwent carotico-carotid bypass immediately prior to endovascular stenting during a single anesthetic. Stent-graft implantation was technically successful in all patients. No patient required conversion to open surgical repair of the acute blunt traumatic aortic injury. Procedure-related paraplegia was zero. Complications included proximal migration of initial stent-graft in one patient and iliac artery avulsion in another patient with consequent ilio-femoral bypass. The median hospital stay was 17 days. There were no in-hospital deaths.


Endovascular repair is evolving as the procedure of choice for acute blunt traumatic aortic injury. Treatment of lesions that extend into the aortic arch is feasible with extra-anatomical bypass. In our study, endovascular repair of blunt traumatic aortic injury is a safe procedure with low morbidity and a mortality rate of zero.

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