The Treatment of Acute Traumatic Rupture of the Aorta: A 10-Year Experience

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Forty-three patients with aortic rupture secondardy to blunt trauma have been treated at the University of Michigan within the past 10 years with an overall salvage rate of 70%. The diagnosis should be suspected in anyone who has sustained a high speed decelerating injury, if the chest roentgenograrm shows media-stinal widening, whether or not there is hypertension of the upper extremities; systolic murmur, or external evidence of chest injury. Aortography should be employed to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the site or sites of rupture. Repair of the lesion should be undertaken as soon as possible and takes priority in most instances over associated injuries. Repair in almost all cases can be accomplished safely and quickly using a bypass shunt without the aid of extra-corporeal circulation.

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