RUPTURE of the aorta by a nonpenetrating injury is a major catastrophe that is almost never recognized during the time the patient survives the injury.
Any traumatic episode severe enough to rupture the aorta usually is instantaneously fatal or renders the patient in such a state of profound shock as to make impossible any detailed clinical investigation during his brief survival period. Occasionally the length of the survival period may be sufficient to permit certain reparative procedures to be undertaken, such as reduction of associated fractures and débridement, or suture of associated lacerations. It may be that the patient appears to improve strongly after the initial shock is overcome. Eventually, however, the patient dies, death coming after precipitous profound shock from which he cannot rally.
The sequence of events is easily understood. The initial injury must necessarily be of considerable compressing force to produce aortic rupture, if the aorta is