Objective: Blunt abdominal aortic injury in children is a rare clinical entity with which most vascular surgeons have minimal experience. The evidence for management recommendations is limited. We have reported a single institution's experience in the care of pediatric abdominal aortic injuries. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of consecutive pediatric patients who had been diagnosed with blunt traumatic abdominal aortic injury at our institution from 2008 to 2019. Results: A total of 16 pediatric patients (50% male) were identified. They ranged in age from 4 to 17 years. All had been involved in motor vehicle collisions and had been restrained passengers with a seatbelt in use. Five patients (31%) were hypotensive en route or on arrival. Seven patients (44%) had been transferred from another hospital. The median injury severity score was 34 (interquartile range, 19-35). The infrarenal aortic injuries were stratified using the aortic injury grading classification (five, two, seven, and two with grade 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively). Concurrent nonaortic injuries included solid organ (63%; n = 10), hollow viscus (88%; n = 14), brain (25%; n = 4), hemothorax or pneumothorax (25%; n = 4), spine fractures (81%; n = 13), and nonspine fractures (75%; n = 12). Of the 16 patients, 9 (56%) had required aortic repair. Three had required immediate revascularization for distal ischemia. The remaining six patients (38%) had undergone delayed repair, with a median interval to repair of 52 days (range, 2-916 days). One half of the delayed repairs were performed during the index hospitalization. On repeat axial imaging, the three patients who had undergone delayed repair were found to have enlarging pseudoaneurysms or flow-limiting dissections and had subsequently undergone repair during the index hospitalization. Only one patient had undergone endovascular repair. No deaths occurred, and the median follow-up was 7 months (interquartile range, 3-28 months) for our study population. All postoperative patients demonstrated stable imaging findings without requiring further intervention. Seven patients, whose injury grades had ranged from 1 to 3, were observed. Their repeat imaging studies demonstrated either stability or resolution of their aortic injury. However, one half of the patients had been lost to follow-up after discharge or after their first postoperative clinic visit. Conclusions: Delayed aortic intervention can be safely performed for most pediatric patients with blunt abdominal aortic injuries with preserved distal perfusion to the lower extremities. This finding suggests that transfer to a tertiary center with vascular expertise is a safe and feasible management strategy. However, the progression of aortic injuries was seen as early as within 48 hours and as late as 30 months after injury, underscoring the importance of long-term surveillance. However, in our cohort, 50% of the children were lost to follow-up, highlighting the need for a more structured surveillance strategy.
- Abdominal aortic trauma
- Blunt aortic injury
- Nonoperative management of aortic injury
- Pediatric aortic trauma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine