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August 1961

Rupture of the Thoracic Aorta

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory and Surgical Services of the Veterans Administration Hospital, Fayetteville.

Arch Surg. 1961;83(2):257-261. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1961.01300140099019

The publication of this article is based upon the conviction that aortic rupture has generally been mishandled due to confusion concerning its diagnosis and prognosis. The anatomicopathology of our cases suggests the feasibility of rapid diagnosis of the condition and early operative interference. The major handicaps to successful saving of life with ruptured aorta have been (1) missed early diagnosis, and (2) delay while waiting for the disease to define itself. Those patients with partial aortic rupture who have survived are those in whom the lesion was of such modest nature that localized hemorrhage occurred and a false aneurysm formed.

Aortic rupture is becoming more common in this era of high-speed travel, and the incidence may be expected to increase. Both highway and air travel, in which the body of the occupant is subject to large G-forces due to abrupt starts and stops is particularly productive of the lesion.