JOURNAL ARTICLE
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[Salvage of digits replantations by direct arterial antithrombotic infusion].

At the end of the seventy, we saw the reconstructive microsurgery developed to such an extent that it became a new and an independent surgical specialty. The development of the microsurgical instrumentation and the description of the surgical anatomy allowed the application of this technology to the most complex plastic reconstructions and particularly to the replantation of the amputated digits, especially the very distal digital amputations. Nowadays, the indications of digital replantation are well-defined according to numerous parameters conditioning the anatomical result and the functional outcome. It is well-known that the replantation of the amputated digit should be realized as soon as possible with optimal conditions of digital hibernation during the patient transport. In spite of that technical progress, the failure rate is still relatively important. The causes are sometimes recognizable and connected to technical defection, such as a non permeable vascular anastomosis, bad hemodynamics conditions or an insufficient anticoagulation, while in certain cases, the digital ischemia occurs in spite of permeable and technically successful arterial anastomosis. We then consider a "no reflow phenomenon". It corresponds to the constitution of vascular microthrombi which will block the arteriolar network. Those microthrombi are inaccessible to the microsurgical techniques and their treatment remains medical by intra-arterial infusion of antithrombotic agents. Through our series of fifteen digital replantations, having suffered a "no reflow phenomenon", we are going to present the fibrinolytic protocol we used and the promising results we obtained. All our patients were victims of traumatisms associating avulsions and crush injuries mechanisms. The conditions of preservation of the amputated digits were all quite unfavourable: 1) the amputated digit soaked in water in 5 cases; 2) the amputated fingers underwent a long-term "warm ischemia" in three cases, going up to 13 hours for one of them; 3) the amputated digits were completely frozen in six cases; 4) and one amputated finger was correctly hibernated but for too long a period (8 hours). The signs of ischemia appeared very prematurely in the first minutes after the microvascular revascularisation in ten cases, and in average within three hours postoperatively in the other five cases, with extreme cases going from 2 up to 6 hours. As soon as the diagnosis of "no reflow phenomenon" was confirmed, an intra-arterial catheter was fixed. The radial axis was chosen as the arterial infusion way and approached at the level of the pulse groove. The antithrombotic protocol included a flash of 50,000 UI of urokinase, 36 ml of lidocaïne 1% and 40 mg of enoxaparine, followed by an electric syringe infusion the first six hours with 150,000 UI of urokinase, 36 ml of lidocaïne 1% and 40 mg of enoxaparine at 6 cc/h speed. The urokinase was then interrupted but the intra-arterial infusion maintained with 72 ml of lidocaïne 1% and 80 mg of enoxaparine for 24 hours, at a 3 cc/h speed, and this for ten days. In 12 cases, the "no reflow phenomenon" was able to be raised and the digital vascularization restored. The success rate is very encouraging (80%) and it turns this protocol into a precious ally of the digit replantation microsurgery and an effective therapeutic means way against the "no reflow phenomenon".

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