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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 93

of 'Surgical and endovascular repair of blunt thoracic aortic injury'

Minimal aortic injury: a lesion associated with advancing diagnostic techniques.
Malhotra AK, Fabian TC, Croce MA, Weiman DS, Gavant ML, Pate JW
J Trauma. 2001;51(6):1042.
BACKGROUND: With the increasing use of high-resolution diagnostic techniques, minimal aortic injuries (MAI) are being recognized more frequently. Recently, we have used nonoperative therapy as definitive treatment for patients with MAI. The current study examines our institutional experience with these patients from July 1994 to June 2000.
METHODS: All patients suspected of blunt aortic injury (BAI) by screening helical CT (HCT) underwent confirmatory aortography with or without intravascular ultrasound (IVUS). MAI was defined as a small (<1 cm) intimal flap with minimal to no periaortic hematoma.
RESULTS: Of the 15,000 patients evaluated by screening HCT, 198 (1.3%) were suspected of having BAI. BAI was confirmed in 87 (44%), and 9 (10%) of these had MAI. The initial aortogram was considered normal in five of the MAI patients. The correct diagnosis was made by IVUS (four patients), and video angiography (one patient). One MAI patient had surgery, and two (22%) died of causes not related to the aortic injury. Follow-up studies were done on the six MAI patients that were discharged. In two, the flap had completely resolved, and in one it remained stable. The remaining three patients formed small pseudoaneurysms.
CONCLUSION: Ten percent of BAI diagnosed with high resolution techniques have MAI. These intimal injuries heal spontaneously and hence may be managed nonoperatively. However, the long-term natural history of these injuries is not known, and hence caution should be exercised in using this form of treatment.
Department of Surgery, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. akmalhot@hsc.vcu.edu