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Aortic Rupture, Traumatic (TAI), Emergency Medicine

Reviewed 06/2017



  • Traumatic aortic rupture (also referred to as traumatic aortic injury or TAI) is the cause of death in an estimated 20% of lethal motor vehicle collisions.

  • An estimated 85% of patient...


Signs and Symptoms

Despite the severe nature of the injury, clinical manifestations are often deceptively subtle or nonexistent as patients frequently present with multiple coexisting injurie...



Important information to retrieve at scene of injury: 
  • Vehicular speed

  • Patient in driver or passenger seat

  • Damage to steering column if driver is patient

  • Ejection or use of seat belt

Initial Stabilization/Therapy



Admission Criteria

All patients with aortic injuries must be admitted to the ICU if not taken directly to the OR. 

Followup Recommendations

All patients with TAI are admitted to the ...

Pearls and Pitfalls

  • Maintain a high degree of suspicion for TAI in patients with injuries from significant deceleration mechanisms.

  • Clinical signs and symptoms may be subtle or nonexistent, necessitati...

Additional Reading

  • Demetriades  D, Velmahos  GC, Scalea  TM, et al. Blunt traumatic thoracic aortic injuries: Early or delayed repair—Results of an American Association for the Surgery of Trauma prosp...



  • 901.0 Injury to thoracic aorta

  • 902.0 Injury to abdominal aorta


  • S25.01XA Minor laceration of thoracic aorta, initial encounter

  • S25.02XA Major laceration of thoracic aorta, initial encounter

  • ...

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