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Blunt thoracic aortic injury resulting in free rupture into the pleural space and cardiac arrest, managed successfully with endovascular stenting


Blunt thoracic aortic injury (BTAI) is an uncommon yet serious diagnosis in trauma patients, with high on-scene mortality. BTAI typically occurs from rapid deceleration such as in motor vehicle collisions or high-altitude falls shearing the aorta just proximal to the ligamentum arteriosum. We report a case of a man in his 50s falling from a height of 15 m who presented hypotensive with retrosternal chest pain. Mobile chest X-ray showed a widened mediastinum with left-sided haemothorax. CT revealed a contained free aortic rupture just inferior to the origin of the left subclavian artery with bleeding into the mediastinum and left pleural space. The patient underwent urgent thoracic endovascular aortic repair (TEVAR) but arrested on-table due to a left-sided tension haemothorax requiring chest-drain decompression and haemostatic resuscitation. After return of spontaneous circulation, TEVAR was successfully performed. BTAI is a dynamic process; hence, timely imaging and minimally invasive surgical treatment are key to patients surviving grade III and IV aortic injuries.

  • Vascular surgery
  • Surgery
  • Orthopaedic and trauma surgery
  • Trauma

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