Diagnostic imaging of traumatic pseudoaneurysm of the thoracic aorta

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Diagnostic imaging of traumatic pseudoaneurysm of the thoracic aorta

Background. The purpose of the study was the presentation of findings and diagnostic imaging in patients with traumatic pseudoaneurysms of the thoracic aorta, as a rare consequence of road traffic accidents.

Patients and methods. In 22 years we have found 8 traumatic pseudoaneurysms of the thoracic aorta, out of which 7 (87.5%) in male and 1 (12.5%) in female patients. At the time of accidents the youngest patient was 21 and the oldest was 55 (mean age 33.8 years), and at the moment of diagnosing a pseudoaneurysm they were 26 and 55 years old, respectively (mean age 38.7 years). In all patients chest radiography was performed as well as CT scan, in 6 (75%) patients intra-venous digital subtraction angiography was performed (i.v. DSA) and in 1 (12.5%) MRI. CT was performed with the application of 120 ml, and i.v. DSA with 60 ml of contrast medium, respectively.

Results. In 8 (100%) patients, who suffered a road traffic accident, and whose chest radiograph showed the enlargement of the aortic knob and widening of the mediastinum, CT, i.v. DSA and MRI revealed a traumatic pseudoaneurysm of the thoracic aorta. Periods of time between the accidents and the initial diagnosis of the pseudoaneurysm varied from 7 days to 18 years (median 2.0 years). The diameter of the pseudoaneurysm was from 4.5 to 9.2 cm (median 5.5 cm). In 7 (87.5%) isthmus was involved, and in 1 (12.5%) descending thoracic aorta, respectively. The chest radiograph revealed marginal calcifications in 4 (50%), and on the CT in 5 (62.5%) patients. Intraluminal thrombosis was found by CT in 2(25%) traumatized patients.

Conclusions. Traumatic pseudoaneurysm should be taken into consideration in blunt chest trauma, where a chest radiograph shows suspicious regions. A multislice CT is a diagnostic method of choice.

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Radiology and Oncology

The Journal of Association of Radiology and Oncology

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