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May 1969

Aortic Laceration Due to Rapid Deceleration: Surgical Management

Author Affiliations

From the Cora and Webb Mading Department of Surgery, Baylor University College of Medicine, and the Ben Taub General, St. Luke's Episcopal, and Methodist hospitals, Houston.

Arch Surg. 1969;98(5):595-601. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1969.01340110087008

Progressively increasing numbers of motor vehicles on the high-ways are resulting in an ever-enlarging number of accident victims with a wide variety of injuries. As these vehicles have become faster and faster, the rapid deceleration type of accident is occurring with increasing frequency. A similar type of injury often accompanies aircraft crashes. Of particular importance in many such accidents is the possibility of potentially fatal damage to the thoracic aorta.1-5

These rapid deceleration injuries to the thoracic aorta vary from intimal tears, which may progress to dissection and occlusion of the lumen or subsequent aneurysm formation, all the way to partial or complete transection of the aorta. Although the majority of patients with partial to complete transection of aorta die immediately, some 10% to 20% survive long enough to reach the hospital and can be salvaged if the true extent of the injury is recognized rapidly and repaired expeditiously.2,4