Clinical Communications: Adult| Volume 58, ISSUE 4, e201-e205, April 2020

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A Case of Traumatic Aortic Transection Presenting With Hemorrhagic Shock



      Aortic transection, or aortic rupture, is a rare diagnosis in trauma patients and carries a high mortality.

      Case Report

      We present the case of a 61-year-old man presenting to a Level I trauma center after being struck by a motor vehicle, found to have an aortic transection. He was initially hypotensive and resuscitated with blood products due to concern for hemorrhagic shock. Aortic injury was suspected after chest x-ray study demonstrated a widened mediastinum. Traumatic thoracic aortic transection with pseudoaneurysm was diagnosed on computed tomography of the aorta, and the patient was taken to the operating room for thoracic endovascular repair of the aorta.

      Why Should an Emergency Physician Be Aware of This?

      Diagnosis of aortic injury can be challenging, especially in trauma patients presenting with hypotension. Aortic injury must be suspected in patients presenting after a high-velocity mechanism injury. It is an uncommon cause of hemorrhagic shock in trauma patients and must be considered even if other traumatic injuries are identified, as it commonly occurs with other significant injuries. Although chest x-ray study can be useful, a negative chest x-ray study does not rule out aortic injury. Aortic injury is a time-sensitive diagnosis, and early identification is key to these patients surviving to receive definitive management in the operating room.


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