Surgical management of traumatic rupture of aortic isthmus: a 25-year experience

Seyed Mohsen Mirhosseini, Shadi Asadollahi, Mohammad Fakhri
General Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery 2013, 61 (4): 212-7

OBJECTIVE: Traumatic rupture of the thoracic aorta is a surgical emergency with a high mortality rate. This condition requires prompt diagnosis and expeditious evaluation to improve patient survival. The aim of this study is to evaluate the outcomes of early and late management of traumatic rupture of aortic isthmus in patients with blunt thoracic trauma.

METHODS: Between February 1980 and June 2005, 64 patients sustained blunt thoracic trauma underwent open surgical repair for traumatic rupture of the aortic isthmus (7 women, 57 men, and mean age 38 ± 14.3 years). Clinical signs of diagnostic principles in our series of patients were: chest pain and dyspnea (48.5 %), hemoptysis (23.5 %), and hypotension (15.5 %). All patients underwent a left posterolateral thoracotomy through the fourth or fifth intercostal space or median sternotomy. Extracorporeal circulation for spinal cord protection was installed in all patients.

RESULTS: Of the 64 patients identified over the 25-year study period, 15 (23.5 %) underwent direct suture, 48 (75 %) underwent interposition graft repair, and 1 (1.5 %) experienced patch aortoplasty repair. The overall hospital mortality rate for the entire patient was 3 % due to multiple organ failure and myocardial infarction. No paraplegia occurred postoperatively. Three patients died during the follow-up period, two from myocardial infarction, and one from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

CONCLUSIONS: Traumatic aortic rupture remains a potentially lethal injury and an ongoing therapeutic challenge. Open surgical technique to repair the traumatic rupture of aorta is a safe procedure: postoperative outcome was excellent and the complications observed that were with aortic endoprosthetic stent-grafts were avoided.

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