Imaging of thoracic aortic injury

D Ait Ali Yahia, A Bouvier, C Nedelcu, M Urdulashvili, F Thouveny, C Ridereau, J Y Tanguy, J Picquet, C Aube, S Willoteaux
Diagnostic and Interventional Imaging 2015, 96 (1): 79-88
Isthmic aortic rupture or disruption should be systematically sought when there is high kinetic energy trauma to the thorax. This condition is extremely serious and life threatening. It needs to be diagnosed rapidly but diagnostic pitfalls must be avoided. CT angiography is the standard examination. The main CT signs of rupture or disruption of the thoracic aorta are periaortic hematoma, intimal flap, pseudo-aneurysm and contrast agent extravasation. There are three types of lesion: intimal, subadventitial or pseudo-aneurysmal, and complete rupture with lesion of the three tunicae, and it is important to grade them for better therapeutic management. The main diagnostic pitfalls of the CT scan are the presence of a ductus diverticulum and post-isthmic fusiform dilatation. Associated lesions must not be overlooked. The most common are ruptures of the aortic root and the thoracic aorta in the diaphragmatic hiatus.

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