CT features of blunt abdominal aortic injury

Vincent M. Mellnick, Cade McDowell, Meghan Lubner, Sanjeev Bhalla, Christine O. Menias

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Abdominal aortic injuries are uncommon following blunt trauma, with relatively few reported series in the radiology literature. This study was conducted to identify common locations and imaging features of blunt traumatic abdominal aortic injury, the presence of associated visceral and osseous injuries, and the mechanisms of trauma. A retrospective review of 9,213 trauma registry entries over a 7-year period yielded 103 patients with aortic injuries, 12 of which had direct signs of abdominal segment involvement (dissection flap, focal intimal injury, intramural hematoma, active extravasation of contrast, or pseudoaneurysm formation). The majority (75 %) was isolated to the abdomen-67 % of which was infrarenal, 33 % suprarenal-while the other 25 % was a contiguous extension from a thoracic injury. Abdominal aortic injuries were uncommonly seen in isolation: all but one patient (92 %) demonstrated either retroperitoneal blood or stranding, hemoperitoneum, and/or CT signs of hypoperfusion complex, and only one patient (8 %) had no associated solid organ or skeletal injuries. All patients had a mechanism of injury which involved direct trauma to the abdomen, most commonly a motor vehicle collision. Similar to other recent series, there was an increased rate of abdominal segment injury (11.7 % of all aortic injuries) in this series compared to more remote autopsy series. This difference is likely due to detection of injuries which went undiagnosed before the widespread use of multidetector CT, which has become the standard of care for both acute evaluation following blunt trauma and for follow-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-307
Number of pages7
JournalEmergency Radiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • ATAI
  • Abdominal aorta
  • Dissection
  • Trauma


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