A 14-year experience with blunt thoracic aortic injury

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Objective: This study reviewed the natural history of blunt thoracic aortic trauma (BTAT) over a 14-year period at our level 1 trauma center and compared open vs endovascular treatment. Methods: All patients with BTAT presenting to a level 1 trauma center from 1998 to 2011 were included in a retrospective analysis. Multiple data points and short-term and midterm outcomes were ascertained through a retrospective record review. Results: We identified 129 patients with BTAT. Of these, 32 (25%) were dead on arrival, 38 (29%) underwent a resuscitative thoracotomy and died, 33 (26%) underwent open repair, 14 (11%) underwent endovascular repair, 9 (7%) underwent simultaneous procedures, and 3 (2%) were managed nonoperatively. Mean Injury Severity Scores and Revised Trauma Scores were similar (P =.484, P =.551) between the open repair group (n = 36) and the endovascular repair group (n = 14). In the open repair group, there were 14 deaths (42%) ≤30 days of injury, 3 strokes (9%), 2 patients (6%) with paralysis, 2 myocardial infarctions (MIs; 6%), and 3 patients (9%) who required hemodialysis. In the endovascular group, there was 1 death (7%) ≤30 days of injury, 1 (7%) stroke, and 1 (7%) stent collapse. No paralysis, MI, or renal failure requiring hemodialysis was noted in the endovascular group. The average length of stay was 15 days for patients treated with endovascular repair vs 24 days for those treated with open repair (P =.003). Conclusions: The incidence of BTAT is low but the mortality associated with it is significant. During the 14-year period studied, there was a clear change in management preference from open repair to endovascular repair at our level 1 trauma center. Outcomes, including stroke, MI, renal failure, paralysis, length of stay, and death, appear to be reduced in the endovascular group. © 2013 by the Society for Vascular Surgery.




Watson, J., Slaiby, J., Garcia Toca, M., Marcaccio, E. J., & Chong, T. T. (2013). A 14-year experience with blunt thoracic aortic injury. In Journal of Vascular Surgery (Vol. 58, pp. 380–385). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvs.2013.01.045

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