Blunt vascular neck injuries: diagnosis and outcomes of extracranial vessel injury

Elaine C McKevitt, Andrew W Kirkpatrick, Leslie Vertesi, Robert Granger, Richard K Simons
Journal of Trauma 2002, 53 (3): 472-6

BACKGROUND: Blunt vascular neck injuries (BVNIs) are rare, often occult, and potentially devastating injuries. The purpose of this study was to identify a high-risk group, which would benefit from screening.

METHODS: Patients with BVNIs were identified from our trauma registry and charts were reviewed. Potential risk factors for BVNI were evaluated by univariate and multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS: Thirty-one BVNIs were identified in 22 patients. The stroke rate was 60% and the mortality rate was 25%. Univariate analysis showed Glasgow Coma Scale score < or = 8, head injury (Abbreviated Injury Scale [AIS] score > or = 3), basal skull fracture, facial injury, other neck injury, thorax injury (AIS score > or = 3), abdominal injury, and cervical spine injury to be significant (p < 0.05). The multivariate predictive model had two predictors remaining significant: thorax injury (AIS [thorax] score > or = 3) and Glasgow Coma Scale score < or = 8.

CONCLUSION: Screening should be undertaken for patients at increased risk for BVNI: those with risk factors identified in our regression analysis and factors previously reported.

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