CT imaging of complications of aortic intramural hematoma: a pictorial essay

Diagn Interv Radiol. 2018 Nov;24(6):342-347. doi: 10.5152/dir.2018.17261.


Aortic intramural hematoma (IMH) is a pathologic process with a clinical presentation identical to aortic dissection and associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Radiologists must be familiar with the imaging appearances of IMH as computed tomography (CT) plays a critical role in both diagnosis and patient management. The course of IMH is variable and the process may regress, remain stable, or progress in extent and therefore imaging findings associated with a negative prognosis must be recognized and included in the formal radiology report. Potentially life-threatening complications and findings associated with IMH include hemopericardium and cardiac tamponade, coexisting aortic dissection, ulcer-like projection, intramural blood pool, and extension of hematoma along the pulmonary or coronary arteries, which are identifiable with aortic protocol CT. The purpose of this pictorial review is to provide the reader with an image-based review of the diagnostic criteria, related complications, and associated critical prognostic features in patients presenting with aortic IMH.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aorta / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Hematoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*