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Sept 16, 1968

Rupture of the Aorta Due to Radiation Injury: Report of a Case and Electron Microscopic Study

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, New York Medical College-Metropolitan Hospital.

JAMA. 1968;205(12):875-878. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140380079023

Necrotizing aortitis with rupture is a rare complication of radiation of mediastinal structure. To our knowledge, this is the first electron microscopic study of radiation changes of the aorta. Collagen fibers were preserved, but there was slit-like irregular fragmentation of elastic fibers. Marcias-Rojas and Castro1 previously reported five cases of postradiation rupture of the aorta, all associated with mediastinitis. Our patient had an empyema. It is postulated that infection combined with radiation necrosis may have triggered the rupture.