Endovascular versus open management of blunt traumatic aortic disruption at two military trauma centers: Comparison of in-hospital variables

David S. Kauvar, Joseph M. White, Chatt A. Johnson, W. Tracey Jones, Todd E. Rasmussen, W. Darrin Clouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Blunt traumatic aortic disruption (BTAD) carries significant mortality and morbidity. Traditional open repair has appreciable risks of perioperative mortality and spinal cord ischemic complications. Endovascular repair may reduce the incidence of these adverse outcomes. We present the experience at two military trauma centers with thoracic aortic endografting for trauma (TAET) and compare this with recent open experience. Methods: A review of inpatient records was performed. All patients undergoing open repair or TAET for acute BTAD were studied. Collected data included demographics, injury characteristics, and in-hospital variables. Descriptive statistics were calculated with two-tailed t-tests performed for comparison of continuous variables. Results: Five open and eight TAET repairs were performed. Mean age was 32 years (range 28-50) in the TAET group and 35 (25-57) in the open group. All patients, except one TAET, had at least one associated injury' with thoracic injuries predominating. Twelve BTAD were just distal to the left subclavian artery. One injury, treated with TAET, was just proximal to the celiac. Operative blood loss averaged 298 ± 394 mL in the TAET group vs. 2,400 ± 3,800 mL in the open group (p = 0.18). Crystalloid infusions were similarly reduced in TAET patients, 1,019 ± 532 mL vs. 4,860 ± 1,547 mL, p < 0.05), as were red blood cell transfusions, 1.6 units vs. 5.0 units (p = 0.12). The majority of patients [6/8 (75%) TAET, 5/5 (100%) open] experienced an inpatient complication (p = 0.09). All open patients had at least one infectious complication. There were no inpatient deaths related to aortic injury or spinal cord ischemic complications. Conclusions: TAET is feasible for the treatment of BTAD in military trauma centers. It is important for military centers to accomplish this with adequate results as endovascular technologies are now being taken to the battlefield. Decreased blood loss and resuscitation requirements compared to open repair are likely contributors to improved outcomes with TAET.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-873
Number of pages5
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2009
Externally publishedYes


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