The Journal of Cardiothoracic Trauma

: 2018  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11--18

Blunt thoracic aortic injury

Tara Talaie, Jonathan J Morrison, James V O’Connor 
 R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, University of Maryland Medical System, Baltimore, USA

Correspondence Address:
Jonathan J Morrison
R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, 22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, Maryland 21201

Blunt thoracic aortic injury (BTAI) is a significant problem in cardiothoracic trauma. It is a leading cause of prehospital death from high energy motor vehicle crashes. Injuries can be classified into one of four grades: grade I – intimal tear; grade II – intra-mural hematoma; grade III – pseudoaneurysm and grade IV – uncontained rupture. Clinical symptoms and signs are often limited, especially in minor injury grades. Left sided hemothorax and a widened mediastinum on chest radiography are concerning features suggestive of BTAI. Computed scanning is now an indispensable tool used to evaluate patients and has largely replaced aortography. The aim of management is to control hemorrhage (if present) and to reduce the risk of delayed aortic rupture. Patients with pseudoaneurysm can undergo semi-elective repair, provided blood pressure can be controlled which is critical to preventing lesion progression and rupture. Patients presenting with an uncontained rupture require emergent repair. The preferred method of intervention is no longer operative repair (with bypass for distal perfusion), but thoracic endovascular aneurysm repair (TEVAR). An endovascular approach is associated with a lower morality and lower rates of spinal cord ischemia. The aim of this review is present the history of management and the supporting evidence along with an overview of current practice from a busy US trauma center.

How to cite this article:
Talaie T, Morrison JJ, O’Connor JV. Blunt thoracic aortic injury.J Cardiothorac Trauma 2018;3:11-18

How to cite this URL:
Talaie T, Morrison JJ, O’Connor JV. Blunt thoracic aortic injury. J Cardiothorac Trauma [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Nov 30 ];3:11-18
Available from:;year=2018;volume=3;issue=1;spage=11;epage=18;aulast=Talaie;type=0