Management options in blunt aortic injury: a case series and literature review

Simeone, Alan; Freitas, Marilee; Frankel, Heidi L.
January 2006
American Surgeon;Jan2006, Vol. 72 Issue 1, p25
Academic Journal
journal article
Blunt aortic injury (BAI) is a devastating consequence of high-energy trauma. The majority of its victims do not survive; those who do generally have significant associated injury. The standard treatment of BAI has been emergent replacement or repair of the damaged aorta via a posterolateral thoracotomy, with or without perfusion adjuncts. In addition to the substantial morbidity and mortality secondary to multisystem traumatic injuries, patients surviving to reach the operating room have been exposed to the risks related to their surgical treatment, namely death, paraplegia, hemorrhage, transfusion, organ dysfunction, prolonged intensive care unit stays, and extensive rehabilitation requirements. Contributions to the literature over the past several years have provided support for changing practice patterns in the management of BAI. Aggressive control of blood pressure has made it safe to delay high-risk interventions in patients with complex injuries. Advanced perfusion strategies using little or no anticoagulation appear to have positively affected bleeding complications and neurologic risk. Finally, endovascular stent grafting, though not yet rigorously evaluated in BAI, has been shown to be feasible and effective in the short term. This case presentation and literature review will examine treatment options and propose a management algorithm.


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