This study was undertaken to identify mechanisms of injury, diagnostic modalities, surgical management, and outcome in children with traumatic aortic disruptions.
University-affiliated private hospital.
All patients younger than 17 years listed in the trauma registry.
Operative repair of thoracic aortic injuries.
Main Outcome Measures
There were 8 boys and 3 girls ranging in age from 12 to 17 years (mean, 14.8 years). Seven children were motor vehicle passengers; 3 were pedestrians struck by vehicles; and 1 was thrown from a bull. Aortic injuries were suspected on the basis of the mechanism of injury and abnormal chest x-ray films (mediastinal widening). Aortic injuries were confirmed in 9 patients by arch aortography and in 2 patients by computed tomography. The injuries involved the isthmus of the aorta in 9 patients (complete transections) and the aortic arch in 2 patients (avulsions of the great vessels). Isthmus injuries were repaired by means of left heart bypass with direct cannulation of the distal thoracic aorta in 8 patients and femoral venous to femoral arterial bypass in 1 patient. Arch injuries were repaired during hypothermic circulatory arrest. The injured aortic segments were replaced with interposition grafts. There were no direct complications of anticoagulation. Ten patients (91%) survived. The only death was caused by a severe closed head injury. There were no instances of paraplegia related to aortic repairs.
Good outcomes resulted from early diagnosis based on mechanism of injury, prompt aortography, and computed tomography and operative management that included distal aortic perfusion with left heart bypass.