Surgical outcome of traumatic rupture of the thoracic aorta

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Background. The aim of this study was to point out the results of different techniques of spinal cord protection in surgically-treated patients with traumatic thoracic aorta (TTA). Methods. A multicentric study was carried out involving 182 patients with TTA. Four patients died before surgery. Two patients were operated on without any investigation and 2 had no aortic tear at thoracotomy. The remaining 174 patients had aortic isthmus disruption and were included in the study. The mean age was 32.3 ± 14.29 years with 126 men (72.4%) and 48 women (27.6%). Road accidents were causal in 163 patients (93.66%); polytraumatism was frequent. A standard chest roentgenogram led to a diagnosis which was confirmed with aortography in 94.8% of cases. Surgical repair of visceral lesions was performed in 52 patients (29.9%) for traumatic spleen, liver, diaphragm, mesentery, and gut. These operations were done before or after aortic operation in 21.3% and 8.6% of cases, respectively. Thirty- three patients (19%) died and 9 (5.2%) had paraplegia. Sixtynine patients had clamp and sew technique (group 1). Ninety-three patients had different types of extracorporeal circulation (group 2), and 12 patients had Gott shunt (group 3). No difference appeared between the 3 groups according to mortality and paraplegia. But the sex ratio, age, visceral lesions, craniocerebral lesions, the type of aortic repair, and cross-clamp time were discriminative. Results. The univariate analysis point out age, crossclamp time, hemothorax, and anatomical type of aortic injury as the risk factors of death. This was confirmed by a multivariable test which retained age, cross-clamp time, and hemothorax as risk factors. When not diagnosed in time, TTA is serious and has a bad prognosis. In spite of a high mortality and morbidity, the surgical management has improved. Immediate operation and medullar protection are the stumbling block in this operation. Conclusions. Operation can be delayed in some cases, but one must take care of hemodynamic instability. This calls for a repair of the serious associated lesions first, or of a quick performing of a thoracotomy for ruptured aorta. The question remains, is it better to protect the spinal cord with the lower aortic perfusion and avoid the simple cross-clamp? Clinical studies give few answers to this question, and the best answer has not yet been given, as we lack prospective studies in this field. (C) 2000 by The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.




Tatou, E., Steinmetz, E., Jazayeri, S., Benhamiche, B., Brenot, R., & David, M. (2000). Surgical outcome of traumatic rupture of the thoracic aorta. In Annals of Thoracic Surgery (Vol. 69, pp. 70–73).

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