Traumatic rupture of the aorta (TRA) remains the second most common cause of death associated with motor vehicle crashes after brain injury. On an average, nearly 8,000 people die annually in the United States due to blunt injury to the aorta. It is observed that more than 80% of occupants who suffer an aortic injury die at the scene due to exsanguination into the chest cavity. TRA and blunt aortic injury (BAI) are leading causes of death in high-speed blunt impact trauma. More specific injuries that fall under these classifications include myocardial contusion (MC), traumatic aortic disruption (TAD), sternal fracture (SF), flail chest (FC) and tracheobronchial disruption (TBD) (Swan et al. 2001). Smith and Chang (1986) reported on 387 cases of blunt traumatic death in vehicular crashes and found that aortic injury was second only to head injury as the leading cause of death. Burkhart et al. (2001) reviewed 242 autopsy cases with fatal BAI and concluded that in most cases aortic injury was accompanied by head injury, rib fractures and/or hepatic trauma.

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