Send to

Choose Destination
Interact Cardiovasc Thorac Surg. 2016 Dec;23(6):970-975. Epub 2016 Aug 29.

When and how should we manage thoracic aortic injuries in the modern era?

Author information

Department of General and Thoracic Surgery, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France.
Department of Thoracic and Cardiac Surgery, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France.
Department of General and Thoracic Surgery, Rouen University Hospital, Rouen, France


A best evidence topic in cardiovascular surgery was written according to a structured protocol. The question addressed was what are the optimum treatment modality and timing of intervention for blunt thoracic aortic injury (BTAI) in the modern era? Of the 697 papers found using the reported search, 14 (5 meta-analyses, 2 prospective and 7 retrospective studies) represented the best evidence to answer the clinical question. The author, journal, country, date of publication, patient group studied, study type, relevant outcomes, results and weakness of these papers are tabulated. All five meta-analyses reported a reduction in mortality with thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) compared with open repair (OR), but only four found the same benefit on paraplegia rate. Similarly, the two prospective and four retrospective studies showed significantly lower mortality with TEVAR than with OR. Only one study (a meta-analysis) reported a significantly lower stroke rate with TEVAR than with OR, whereas the 13 others reported a similar or even higher stroke rate. Other complication rates were identical. Four studies demonstrated that non-operative management (NOM) as a treatment option for BTAI was associated with increased mortality, even if it has declined in recent years. One study emphasized that some cases with minimal aortic injuries (Grade I and II on CT scan) could benefit from NOM. Regarding the timing of repair, only three studies analysed outcomes of delayed repair and reported significantly lower mortality than for early repair. We conclude that with lower mortality and similar overall complications including paraplegia but higher stroke rate, TEVAR is the most suitable treatment for BTAI in the modern era, where expertise exists, especially for cases of multiple associated injuries and in the older age group. Delayed aortic repair can be proposed based on CT scan analysis, but emergent repair should still be advocated for imminent free aortic rupture. NOM remains a therapeutic option but only with selected patients.


Blunt thoracic aortic injury; Endovascular procedure; Open repair; Thoracic aorta

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Silverchair Information Systems
Loading ...
Support Center