The aorta has been opened to show an intimal tear approximately 1.5 cm long just below the ductus
arteriosis. The aortic dimple at the site of the ductus is unusually large and one can see, on the
pulmonary artery side of the ductus, a nodular protrusion into that vessel.
Approximately 4 weeks before his death, this man was involved in a motor vehicle
accident in which he sustained a number of fractured ribs. He developed renal failure and died
from perforation of the stercoral ulcer of the sigmoid colon. In chest injuries, the aorta can be torn
in the region of the ductus arteriosis, which presumably forms a relatively fixed point against which
the aorta moves in the shearing strains imposed by chest deformity. If the tear goes deeply enough,
then death can occur from bleeding; on occasions an aneurysm can form at this site.