Traumatic Aortic Injury

Two recent papers expand our knowledge of blunt traumatic aortic injury.
UK crash data identified risk factors for low impact blunt traumatic aortic rupture, or ‘LIBTAR’ (crashes at relatively low speed): age >60, lateral impacts and being seated on the side that is struck are predictive of LIBTAR. This study should raise our index of suspicion of aortic injury in low-impact scenarios since low-impact collisions account for two thirds of fatal aortic injuries.
Low-impact scenarios may account for two-thirds of blunt traumatic aortic rupture
Emerg Med J. 2010 May;27(5):341-4

Data from the Victorian State Trauma Registry showed pre-hospital mortality from traumatic thoracic aortic transection was approximately 88.0%, whereas patients who survive to reach hospital have a much lower hospital mortality (33.3%, and once patients who arrived in extremis were removed hospital mortality was reduced to 5.9%). Repair was performed in 46 patients, with 22 receiving initial endovascular repair and 24 receiving initial open repair. Mortality rates following surgery were 9.1% and 16.7%, respectively.

The majority of patients arriving at hospital (57.1%) had an ISS of over 40 highlighting that these patients are unlikely to have only one serious injury and are likely to be more seriously injured than the normal trauma population. An ISS greater than 40 was a main predictor of mortality before repair.

Aortic transection: demographics, treatment and outcomes in Victoria, Australia
Emerg Med J. 2010 May;27(5):368-71