Timing of endovascular repair of blunt traumatic thoracic aortic transections

Amy B. Reed, J. Keith Thompson, Charles J. Crafton, Cindy Delvecchio, Joseph S. Giglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Background: Patients with blunt traumatic thoracic aortic transection (BTTAT) just distal to the takeoff of the left subclavian artery typically have concomitant injuries that make open emergent surgical repair highly risky. Over the past decade, endovascular repair of the injured thoracic aorta with commercially available and custom-made covered stents has developed as a viable option, with reported decreases in short-term morbidity and mortality. If active extravasation of contrast from the injured thoracic aorta is not appreciated on chest computed tomography scan, other concurrent injuries of the head, abdomen, and extremities can often be repaired with careful control of blood pressure. The timing of endovascular repair of the traumatic thoracic aortic transection, however, often comes into question, particularly with the presence of fever, pneumonia, or bacteremia. We sought to identify a time frame during which endovascular repair of BTTAT could safely be performed. Methods: Age, concomitant injuries, time from trauma to repair, type of device, and major outcomes were recorded. Results: Over a 5-year period (January 2000 to March 2005), 51 patients presented with BTTAT. Twenty-seven (52.9%) patients with BTTAT died shortly after arrival. Of the remaining 24, 9 underwent emergent open repair, with 1 intraoperative death. Two delayed open repairs were performed. Thirteen patients with BTTAT underwent delayed endovascular repair. Successful endovascular repair of BTTAT was performed in all 13 patients, with no intraoperative deaths. Seven patients were treated with commercial devices and six with custom-made covered stents. None of the repairs was performed emergently. The timing of repair ranged from 1 day to 7 months (median, 6 days), and all patients were treated aggressively with β-blockade before surgery. One patient was discharged from the hospital and underwent elective repair at a later date. Three patients died in the postoperative period (30 days): two from multisystem organ failure and one from iliac artery complications encountered at the time of device deployment. The remaining 10 patients were successfully discharged to a rehabilitation facility. Conclusions: The opportunity to successfully perform endovascular repair of BTTAT may be possible many days after the initial injury in the hemodynamically stable trauma patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-688
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


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