Overview of Treatment for Aortic Transection

Aortic transection occurs when the aorta tears or ruptures due to a major traumatic injury, like those suffered in a car accident. The aorta is the main blood vessel that takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The degree of injury can range from minimal bruising of the aorta to complete separation and rupture.

When the injury is severe, urgent endovascular repair may be required. In this operation, small incisions are made in the groin, and catheters are inserted in the leg arteries. Using live X-rays, a man-made (synthetic) tube, or graft is placed inside the aorta, spanning the injured portion. This graft is composed of thin material covering a flexible frame, or stent, and seals off the portion of the aorta.

Most patients with aortic transection also have other severe injuries to the brain, bones and abdominal organs. In these patients, may care providers are involved and repair of the aorta may be delayed in order to address other life-threatening injuries.

Recovery after repair of aortic transection varies according to the severity of the patient's injuries. Many patients require prolonged hospitalization and intense rehabilitation.

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