Contained Rupture of Aortic Aneurysm

How to Cite This Chapter: Szalay D, Frołow M, Leśniak W. Contained Rupture of Aortic Aneurysm. McMaster Textbook of Internal Medicine. Kraków: Medycyna Praktyczna. Accessed May 31, 2024.
Last Updated: January 17, 2022
Last Reviewed: January 17, 2022
Chapter Information

Definition, Etiology, PathogenesisTop

Contained rupture of aortic aneurysm refers to an acute event of disruption of the aortic wall (sometimes also involving later formation of a pseudoaneurysm) associated with the development of perivascular hematoma that is sealed off by periaortic structures: the pleura, pericardium, retroperitoneal space, or adjacent organs.

Clinical Features and Natural HistoryTop


1) A sudden-onset acute pain in the chest or back (or both). In patients with a thoracoabdominal aortic aneurysm, abdominal pain may be present.

2) Acute respiratory failure due to aortic rupture into the left hemithorax.

3) Rarely, bleeding from the respiratory tract or from the upper gastrointestinal tract.

The closer the location of rupture to the aortic valve, the higher the risk of death. Over 75% of patients die within 24 hours.


Suspected aortic rupture is an indication for urgent computed tomography angiography (CTA) without contrast enhancement to detect possible intramural hematomas and subsequently for contrast-enhanced CTA to locate the rupture.


Urgent or emergent surgical or endovascular treatment, regardless of the size of the aneurysm, is indicated to avoid “free rupture” or bleeding into an adjacent organ. If the patient’s anatomy is appropriate, an endovascular approach may be preferred over open surgery in urgent or emergent circumstances due to lower procedural risk.

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