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E1524. Diagnosis of Acute Blunt Traumatic Aortic Injury: A Practical Review
Authors
  1. Ryan Sutherland; R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center; University of Maryland Medical Center
  2. Clint Sliker; R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center; University of Maryland Medical Center
Background
Blunt traumatic aortic injuries (BTAI) are rare, but life-threatening, injuries which radiologists interpreting diagnostic imaging of acutely injured patients should be aware of. This exhibit will provide an overview of common mechanisms of injury and the frequent sites of injury. A review of screening methods and clinical risk stratification will be provided. Chest radiographic and computed tomographic findings of BTAI will be reviewed. Finally, information that is important for the radiologist to report will be discussed.

Educational Goals / Teaching Points
The exhibit will provide an overview of injury mechanisms, imaging techniques, and both imaging findings and pitfalls that may be encountered during diagnostic imaging of patients with potential BTAI. A review of current screening methods, imaging protocols, grading systems, clinical management, and follow-up recommendations will be provided with the goal of familiarizing radiologists with the most up-to-date and relevant information regarding imaging BTAI.

Key Anatomic/Physiologic Issues and Imaging Findings/Techniques
Following a brief discussion of injury mechanisms and clinical course, both direct and indirect signs of BTAI, as depicted by chest radiography and multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT), will be reviewed in the sequence typically encountered in clinical practice, beginning with radiography. In addition to imaging findings that may either include or exclude BTAI, special emphasis will be placed on those findings and measurements that may have direct impact on the timing and manner of injury management. Imaging pitfalls, including anatomic variants and artifacts, that may mimic BTAI will be presented with tips for avoiding a false diagnosis of BTAI.

Conclusion
By identifying and reporting diagnostically relevant findings that either exclude or confirm BTAI, reporting injury characteristics necessary for appropriate management, and avoiding false diagnoses by recognizing injury mimics, radiologists can play an invaluable role in the diagnosis and management of these potentially devastating injuries.