The magnitude of injury necessary to cause a traumatic aortic tear often results in high mortality. Open surgery in these patients is often not well tolerated. The purpose of this study was to compare the outcomes of three different treatment options in patients with traumatic aortic injuries. This was a retrospective review of a prospectively maintained computer database. Over a period of 33 months, 27 patients were diagnosed with thoracic aortic tears on the basis of a computed tomogram or a diagnostic angiogram. All patients were initially seen by trauma surgery staff and managed nonoperatively ( n = 12) if the predicted mortality due to associated injuries approached 100%. Thoracic surgery staff were consulted on all other patients, and open surgical repair was performed in 10 patients. Thoracic stent grafts were used in five patients because of inability to ventilate following an attempted thoracotomy ( n = 2) or associated organ injury that prohibited anticoagulation (head +/- liver injury, n = 3). Overall, patients in the endovascular group had a higher injury severity score than that of the open surgical group (42 +/- 9 vs. 32 +/- 11). However, mortality was lowest in the endovascular group (20%), higher in the open surgical group (50%), and highest in the nonoperative group (92%). No paraplegia was noted, and all surviving patients have been free of complications during the follow-up period. Due to the small number of patients in each treatment, no strong recommendations can be made. However, the results of thoracic stent grafts for patients with traumatic thoracic pseudoaneurysms may prove to be a safer and less invasive treatment option.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s10016-003-0066-2
View details for PubMedID 14569431