Surgical versus endovascular treatment of traumatic thoracic aortic rupture

Philippe Amabile, Frédéric Collart, Vlad Gariboldi, Gilles Rollet, Jean-Michel Bartoli, Philippe Piquet
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2004, 40 (5): 873-9

OBJECTIVES: Blunt traumatic thoracic aortic rupture is a life-threatening surgical emergency associated with high mortality and morbidity. The recent development of endovascular stent-graft prostheses offers a potentially less invasive alternative to open chest surgery, especially in patients with associated injuries. We sought to compare the results of conventional surgical repair and endovascular treatment of traumatic aortic rupture in a single center.

METHODS: From July 1998 to January 2004, 20 patients with acute blunt traumatic aortic rupture underwent treatment at our institution. All patients had a lesion limited to the isthmus, and associated injuries. Initial management included fluid resuscitation, treatment of other severe associated lesions, and strict monitoring of blood pressure. Eleven patients (9 men, 2 women; mean age, 32 years) underwent surgical repair, including direct suturing in 6 patients and graft interposition in 5 patients. Ten patients were operated on with cardiopulmonary support (left bypass with centrifugal pump, n = 2; extracorporeal circulation, n = 8). The delay between trauma and surgery was 2.6 days (range, 0-21 days). Nine patients (8 men, 1 woman; mean age, 32 years) underwent endovascular treatment with commercially available devices (Excluder, n = 2; Talent, n = 7). In all patients 1 stent graft was deployed. In 2 patients the left subclavian artery was intentionally covered with the device. The delay between trauma and endovascular treatment was 17.8 days (range, 1-68 days).

RESULTS: One patient in the surgical group (9.1%) died during the intervention. Three surgical complications occurred in 3 patients (27%), including left phrenic nerve palsy (n = 1), left-sided recurrent nerve palsy (n = 1), and hemopericardium 16 days after surgery that required a repeat intervention (n = 1). No patient in this group had paraplegia. In the endovascular group successful stent-graft deployment was achieved in all patients, with no conversion to open repair. No patient died, and no procedure-related complications, including paraplegia, occurred in this group. Control computed tomography scans obtained within 7 days after endovascular treatment showed exclusion of pseudoaneurysm in all cases. Length of follow-up for endovascular treatment ranged from 3 to 41 months (mean, 15.1 months). Computed tomography scans obtained 3 months after endovascular treatment showed complete disappearance of pseudoaneurysm in all patients.

CONCLUSION: In the treatment of blunt traumatic thoracic aortic rupture, the immediate outcome in patients who receive endovascular stent grafts appears to be at least as good as observed after conventional surgical repair. Long-term follow-up is necessary to assess long-term effectiveness of such management.

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