Outcomes after thoracic endovascular aortic repair in patients with traumatic thoracic aortic injuries—a single-centre retrospective review

  • Nkhabe ChinyepiEmail author
  • Mpapho Joseph Motsumi
  • Nadraj Naidoo
original article



Blunt and penetrating traumatic thoracic aortic injuries constitute surgical emergencies that are attended with high mortality rates. Most patients do not survive long enough, post injury, to reach a hospital. On-site mortality rates may approach approximately 85%. Two main treatment options for blunt thoracic aortic injuries are open surgery and thoracic endovascular repair. Penetrating thoracic aortic injuries have a higher mortality than blunt trauma, with patients often only reaching the hospital in extremis. Thoracic endovascular repair is currently rapidly evolving as the standard of care for thoracic aortic injuries at many centres.


This is a ten-years retrospective study during which data from December 2006 to December 2016 was collected, yielding 34 patients (30 blunt trauma, 4 penetrating trauma). These injuries were treated with thoracic aortic stent grafts at the Groote Schuur Hospital Vascular Unit, Cape Town. We assessed the technical and clinical outcomes.


The 30-day mortality rate was 5.8%, corresponding to 2 deaths both associated with the index trauma-related fatal strokes. The overall mortality rate was 11.8% (4/34): three deaths were due to major strokes and one death was related to pulmonary complications.


Thoracic endovascular repair after traumatic aortic injury is associated with significantly lower procedural and post-operative mortality. The 30-day and overall mortality after thoracic endovascular repair in our unit is comparable to international standards. Even though there is a paucity of literature on penetrating traumatic aortic injury, thoracic endovascular repair has low peri-procedural adverse events and is safe in selected patients.


Blunt aortic injury Aortic traumatic injury Thoracic aortic injury Blunt thoracic aortic injury Penetrating thoracic aortic injury 



The authors acknowledge the contribution of Pieter Zwanepoel (vascular surgeon) who contributed a significant number of cases from his logbook to the study.

Compliance with ethical guidelines

Conflict of interest

N. Chinyepi, M.J. Motsumi and N. Naidoo declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical standards

This is a single-centre one-year (June 2016–May 2017) retrospective descriptive study of all patients treated by the Vascular Unit at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Approval for this study was obtained from the Human Research Ethics Committee, Faculty of Health Sciences and University of Cape Town (REF: 635/2016).

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryPrincess Marina HospitalGaboroneBotswana
  2. 2.Department of Surgery, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of BotswanaGaboroneBotswana
  3. 3.Vascular UnitGroote Schuur HospitalCape townSouth Africa

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