Nonoperative management of traumatic aortic injury

Hitoshi Hirose, Inderjit S Gill, Mark A Malangoni
Journal of Trauma 2006, 60 (3): 597-601

BACKGROUND: The standard management for patients with blunt aortic injury is surgery; however, a small number of patients have been medically managed. The outcome of these nonoperatively managed patients is unknown.

METHODS: Seven patients diagnosed as blunt aortic injury were managed without aortic surgery between January 1993 and April 2002, and their outcomes were retrospectively investigated.

RESULTS: There were three men and four women, with a mean age of 48.7+/-22.7 years and Injury Severity Score of 37.7+/-16.9. The reason for nonoperative management was refusal of surgery (2), do-not-resuscitate order (1), diffuse brain injury (2), small intimal tear (1), and technical difficulty (1). Two patients died resulting from associated injuries. Five patients are alive, and in three patients complete resolution of aortic injury was observed.

CONCLUSIONS: In selected patients with multiple associated injuries or severe comorbidity, nonoperative management after blunt aortic injury can be a treatment of choice.

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