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COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Role of conservative management in traumatic aortic injury: comparison of long-term results of conservative, surgical, and endovascular treatment

Victor X Mosquera, Milagros Marini, José M Lopez-Perez, Javier Muñiz-Garcia, José M Herrera, Ignacio Cao, José J Cuenca
Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2011, 142 (3): 614-21
21269644

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study is to compare early and long-term results in terms of survival and cardiovascular complications of patients with acute traumatic aortic injury who were conservatively managed with patients who underwent surgical or endovascular repair.

METHODS: From January 1980 to December 2009, 66 patients with acute traumatic aortic injury were divided into 3 groups according to treatment intention at admission: 37 patients in a conservative group, 22 patients in a surgical group, and 7 patients in an endovascular group. Groups were similar with regard to gender, age, Injury Severity Score, Revised Trauma Score, and Trauma Injury Severity Score.

RESULTS: In-hospital mortality was 21.6% in the conservative group, 22.7% in the surgical group, and 14.3% in the endovascular group (P = .57). In-hospital aortic-related complications occurred only in the conservative group. Median follow-up time was 75 months (range, 5-327 months). Conservative group survival was 75.6% at 1 year, 72.3% at 5 years, and 66.7% at 10 years. Surgical group survival remained at 77.2% at 1, 5, and 10 years, whereas survival in the endovascular group was 85.7% at 1 and 5 years (P = .18). No patient in the surgical or endovascular group required reintervention because of aortic-related complications, whereas 37.9% of the conservative group had an aortic-related complication that required surgery or caused the patient's death during the follow-up period. Cumulative survival free from aortic-related complications in the conservative group was 93% at 1 year, 88.5% at 5 years, and 51.2% at 10 years. Cox regression confirmed the initial type of aortic lesion (hazard ratio, 2.94; P = .002) and a Trauma Score-Injury Severity Score greater than 50% on admission (hazard ratio, 1.49; P = .042) as risk factors for the appearance of aortic-related complications. Two peaks in the complication rate of the conservative group were detected in the first week and between the first and third months after blunt thoracic trauma.

CONCLUSIONS: The advent of thoracic aortic endografting has enabled a revolution in the management of acute traumatic aortic injury in patients with multisystem trauma with a low in-hospital morbimortality. Nonoperative management may be only a therapeutic option with acceptable survival in carefully selected patients. The natural history of these patients has revealed a marked trend of late aortic-related complications developing, which may justify an endovascular repair even in some low-risk patients.

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