Diagnosis of blunt traumatic aortic injury 2007: still a nemesis

Stuart E Mirvis, K Shanmuganathan
European Journal of Radiology 2007, 64 (1): 27-40
In recent years, the use of multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) for the diagnosis of acute thoracic injury in blunt trauma has expanded. MDCT has shown high accuracy for the diagnosis or exclusion of injury to the aorta and its primary branches, decreasing the need for thoracic angiography and allowing earlier treatment of this often rapidly fatal lesion. With increasing use of MDCT, more subtle injuries and variants of vascular anatomy are being recognized that create pitfalls in the diagnosis. Of perhaps more concern is the recognition that aortic injury can occur with little or no associated mediastinal hematoma, the principle chest radiographic finding indicating a need for further imaging. The importance of recognizing unusual sites of aortic injury, congenital variants of mediastinal anatomy, the precise extent of injury, and the anatomic pathology present as key factors in deciding among treatment options is emphasized.

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