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Imaging of acute thoracic aortic injury due to blunt trauma: a review.

Radiology 1998 November
Much recent work on the use of computed tomography (CT) and transesophageal echocardiography in screening for and facilitating the diagnosis of acute thoracic aortic injury in the patient with blunt chest trauma has shown favorable results. This has led some physicians to question whether conventional thoracic aortography is still the reference standard. The purpose of this review article is to summarize the epidemiology and pathophysiology of acute thoracic aortic injury, the current status of the individual imaging modalities in use, and the surgeon's perspective. Despite a burgeoning literature and a confounding array of clinical and imaging advances, timely diagnosis of acute thoracic aortic injury remains a challenge. To overcome this problem, some trauma centers have used CT, transesophageal echocardiography, or both, in their diagnostic algorithm for acute thoracic aortic injury. These diagnostic algorithms are individually tailored by each institution and are still under investigation; therefore, no definite conclusions can be reached.

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