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Jornal Vascular Brasileiro

versão impressa ISSN 1677-5449

J. vasc. bras. vol.9 no.1 Porto Alegre  2010  Epub 30-Abr-2010 



Endovascular treatment of thoracic aortic pseudoaneurysm: case report



Luis Carlos Mendes de BritoI; João de Toledo MartinsI; Ovanil Furlani JúniorII; Sérgio Penteado de Camargo Oliveira JúniorIII; Azis Arruda ChaguryIV; Karina Ribeiro Cavalcante TavaresIV

ICirurgião vascular, Radiologia Vascular Intervencionista, Sorocaba, SP, Brazil
IICirurgião vascular, Sorocaba, SP, Brazil
IIICirurgião torácico, Sorocaba, SP, Brazil
IVAcadêmicos de Medicina, Centro de Ciências Médicas e Biológicas, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Sorocaba, SP, Brazil





A 31-year-old car accident victim was admitted with progressive inspiratory dyspnea, followed by intense dissecting thoracic pain, without any irradiation. The patient's Glasgow score was 15, while his ISS was 26 (16 + 9 + 1). Laboratory and radiographic results were normal. One day after hospital admission, the patient underwent surgery due to a fractured tibia, being discharged from hospital 3 days later. However, worsening shortness of breath and thoracic pain were observed and he returned to the hospital 2 days later. A helical computed tomography was done revealing a thoracic aortic pseudoaneurysm. Endovascular surgery with endoprosthesis implantation was the treatment of choice.

Keywords: Pseudoaneurysm, thoracic aorta, thoracic injuries.




Trauma has been considered as the main cause of death in young adult population in the world, and thoracic traumatism, in particular, is being highlighted due to factors associated to technological advances, progressively faster means of transportation, and increase in urban violence.1-3 Thoracic trauma may be classified as blunt or penetrating trauma depending on the pleural cavity being open or not. Any of the organs contained in the thoracic cavity may be injured during trauma, depending on its mechanism, trajectory, and magnitude.4 A severe consequence of thoracic trauma is the pseudoaneurysm or false aortic aneurysm, a clinical entity caused by the disruption of one of the arterial wall layer, which may be retained by neighboring tissues.

The authors present a case report on blunt thoracic traumatism and sudden slowing down caused by car collision culminating in a thoracic aorta pseudoaneurysm, with endovascular treatment with endoprosthesis implant as the treatment of choice, at the Sorocaba Hemodynamics Service. The interest of this case lies in the rarity of incidence and life expectancy of the patients with this type of lesion, given that most of the patients die before hospital treatment, and in the treatment's positive result due to the use of new minimally invasive technique in comparison to conventional treatment techniques.


Case presentation

A 31-year-old male patient, victim of car accident, presented with progressive inspiratory dyspnea and no improvement factors accompanied by high intensity thoracic dissecting pain with no irradiation. In physical exam he showed to be in a regular general state, slightly pale and with vesicular murmur, no adventitious sounds. Fracture in left tibia. Laboratory and radiographic exams were within normality. Receiving an operation for tibia fracture 1 day after, being discharged 3 days after arriving at the service. However, dyspnea and thoracic pain worsened, so he returned for a new consultation 2 days after discharge from hospital. Helicoidal computed tomography (Figure 1) was performed, revealing aortic arch with focal dilation and signs of localized dissection with saccular image formation in the descending aorta with 3cm diameter and 2cm extension, double light.



On the same day, endovascular treatment was chosen. Initially the left common femoral artery was punctured and a 5F valve introducer was installed. The centimetered guided Pig Tail catheter was used and an angiography was performed, confirming the diagnosis of thoracic aorta pseudoaneurysm (Figure 2A). Right inguinotomy was performed with isolation of common femoral artery and, soon after that, a puncture of the right common femoral artery and a 0,038'', 260 cm Lunderquist® guidewire was passed, positioning it in the aortic arch. Through this wire the Talent® 34/34/115 mm endoprosthesis was positioned and liberated (Figure 2B) and endoprosthesis with latex balloon was accomodated. After that, an angiography, after the endoprosthesis implant, evidenced the exclusion of pseudoaneurysm and revealed the pervious thoracic aorta in its whole extension.



The patient was discharged 3 days after the procedure, with a new tomography being performed, which demonstrated exclusion of the false light and stabilization of the clinical picture. The patient was followed up and returned in 30 days (Figure 3A), and in 90 days (Figure 3B) for control TC, which revealed the complete disappearance of the pseudoaneurysm and also of the previously cited symptoms.




Conventional surgical treatment for aorta aneurysm requires thoracotomy and substitution of thoracic aorta for a prosthesis. With the endovascular treatment, thoracotomy is prevented and, with incisions in the inguinal region, the endoprosthesis may be implanted by means of a less invasive procedure. The endoprosthesis is advanced backward through guides, through the common femoral artery, iliac artery pathways, to the abdominal aorta and, consequently, thoracic aorta. Once it is adequately positioned, it is immediately released. This way, the blood loss is lower than that produced in conventional surgery, the aorta does not need to be clamped, and the patient's recovery is quicker. Various prospective and randomized studies are being conducted in the sense of comparing conventional to endovascular technique.5-10 Two of them, EVAR111 and DREAM,12 demonstrated a tendency toward lower surgical mortality, even in low risk patients, offering a viable alternative and with less morbidity in relation to conventional surgery. Besides that, Ott et al. reported a lower risk of post-operatory complications, as myocardial infarction, sepsis, mechanical ventilation time and acute respiratory discomfort syndrome, in patients with traumatic lesions in the aorta treated with the endovascular method. In this study, with the open method, 17% of mortality was obtained (n = 2), 16% paraplegia (n = 2), and 8.3% (n = 1) of laryngeal-recurrent nerve lesion; with endovascular surgery none of these complications occurred.13.

In another study, with 1904 patients, better indexes of endovascular treatment were observed in relation to open surgery in data related to mortality in 30 days (3.1% vs. 5.6%, p = 0.01), mortality after 1 year (8.7 vs. 12.1%) and perioperative risks (15.5 vs. 27.7%).14 In Brazil, although there are not many multicenter comparative studies, there was a significant improvement in morbidity and post-operative complications in thoracic trauma since the adoption of endovascular treatment.15,16 In the last years, the use of stents has enabled a new perspective in treatment of aorta dissections and aneurysms. The use of this technique permitted a shorter time of hospitalization, decrease in surgical mortality and better post-operative recovery, in addition to the decrease in hospital costs.17,18.

In relation to post-surgical effects, a recent study showed that after 2 years and 6 months of emergency surgery, in patients with aorta trauma, there was no interference related to the quality of life and depression and anxiety levels.19

In respect to the selection of prosthesis for the procedure, studies show that there is no significant difference among used models (Talent®, Excluder® e Zenith®).10,20

Finally it is important to refine the technique in order to permit the placement of the stent through smaller introducers and catheters, as important as the surgeon's ability. On the other hand, with this method we can prevent complications inherent to the conventional surgical manipulation as, for instance, respiratory and renal failure, coagulopathies, post-operative pain, paraplegia, hematoma near the prosthesis and pseudoaneurysms near the zones of sutures and localized and systemic infections.



The victims of blunt thoracic trauma with aortic compromised evidence high morbidity and mortality indexes in the whole world. Its diagnosis is difficult to be performed and a well-trained and prepared team is needed to treat these victims.

With the improvement of endovascular surgery and of the surgeon's ability, this technique has been progressively presenting better results in short and medium terms, being able to be performed quickly, safely, and with low morbidity. Besides that, it permits the treatment of other associated lesions, decreases post-operative complications and shortens hospitalization time.



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Azis Arruda Chagury
Rua Martinica, 874, Jardim América
CEP 18046-805 – Sorocaba, SP, Brazil
Tel.: +55 15 8126.1096, +55 15 3221.5060

Manuscript received Aug 28 2008, accepted for publication Nov 26 2008.



No conflicts of interest declared concerning the publication of this article.

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