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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2013 Mar;145(3 Suppl):S154-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcvs.2012.11.074. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Update on blunt thoracic aortic injury: fifteen-year single-institution experience.

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Cardiothoracic & Vascular Surgery, University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute, Houston, Tex, USA.



Despite improvements in the management of blunt thoracic aortic injury, mortality remains high. We report our experience with blunt thoracic aortic injury at a level 1 trauma center over the past 15 years.


Between January 1, 1997, and January 1, 2012, data on 338 patients who presented with suspected blunt thoracic aortic injury were entered into the University of Texas Medical School at Houston Trauma Center Registry. A total of 175 patients (52%) underwent thoracic aortic repair; 29 (17%) had open repair with aortic crossclamping, 77 (44%) had open repair with distal aortic perfusion, and 69 (39%) had thoracic endovascular aortic repair. Outcomes were determined, including early mortality, morbidity, length of stay, and late survival. Multiple logistic regression analysis was used to compute adjusted estimates for the effects of the operative technique.


The early mortality for all patients with blunt thoracic aortic injury was 41% (139/338). Early mortality was 17% (27/175) for operative aortic interventions, 4% (3/69) for thoracic endovascular aortic repairs, 31% (11/29) for open repairs with aortic crossclamping, and 14% (11/77) for open repairs with distal aortic perfusion. Survival for thoracic endovascular aortic repair at 1 year and 5 years was 92% and 87%, respectively. Survival for open repair at 1, 5, 10, and 15 years was 76%, 75%, 72%, and 68%, respectively.


Blunt thoracic aortic injury remains associated with significant early mortality. Delayed selective management, when applied with open repair with distal aortic perfusion and the use of thoracic endovascular aortic repair, has been associated with improved early outcomes. The long-term durability of thoracic endovascular aortic repair is unknown, necessitating close radiographic follow-up.

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