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June 1991

Transesophageal Echocardiography: Preliminary Results in Patients With Traumatic Aortic Rupture

Author Affiliations

From the Sections of General Surgery (Drs Sparks, Burchard, and Bean) and Cardiothoracic Surgery (Drs Marrin and Nugent), the Department of Surgery, and the Section of Cardiology, the Department of Medicine (Dr Plehn), Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Hanover, NH.

Arch Surg. 1991;126(6):711-714. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1991.01410300057007

• Eleven patients with blunt chest trauma at risk for traumatic aortic rupture underwent transesophageal echocardiography to image the descending aorta. Diagnoses were compared with the results of radiographic studies. Ten of the 11 patients underwent arch aortography, with positive results in six cases. In one patient, the results of a computed tomographic scan were interpreted as consistent with aortic rupture. The results of transesophageal echocardiography were positive for ruptured descending aorta in three of six patients with positive aortographic findings, and negative in eight patients. All three patients with positive findings had the diagnosis of ruptured descending aorta confirmed at surgery. The remaining eight patients demonstrated no aortic morbidity. These preliminary findings suggest that transesophageal echocardiography is a useful technique for the diagnosis of ruptured descending aorta following blunt chest trauma.

(Arch Surg. 1991;126:711-714)

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