Should Trauma Surgeons Render Definitive Vascular Repair in Peripheral Vascular Injuries?

Porter, John M.; Ivatury, Rao R.
May 2001
American Surgeon;May2001, Vol. 67 Issue 5, p427
Academic Journal
Our hypothesis is that in an established Level I trauma center general trauma surgeons should repair peripheral vascular injuries even in stable patients when there is time for a vascular consult. We reviewed all penetrating peripheral vascular injuries in stable patients operated on by nine experienced general trauma surgeons (1993-1996). Outcome measures were amputation, nerve damage, and vascular complications. There were 43 patients with 44 peripheral vascular injuries identified. Sixty per cent were from stab wounds. There were 27 arterial injuries (carotid four, subclavian one, vertebral two, axillary three, brachial eight, ulnar one, radial two, femoral five, and anterior tibial one). There were three venous injuries (one each subclavian, axillary, and popliteal). There were 14 combined injuries (vertebral two, femoral nine, and popliteal three). There were no mortalities. Morbidity was limited to patients with lower extremity injuries. In the nine patients with combined femoral vessel injury there were three complications (nerve damage, thrombosed arterial repair, and thrombosed venous repair). In the four patients with popliteal venous injuries there were two complications, both venous thrombosis. Our early arterial patency rate was 97.6 per cent. These data support the hypothesis that general surgeons with trauma experience can provide effective treatment of peripheral vascular injuries. The significance of these findings in improving the image of trauma surgery as a career is discussed.


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