Value of percutaneous embolotherapy for the management of traumatic vascular limb injury

Geert Maleux, Pieter-Jan Herten, Johan Vaninbroukx, Marleen Thijs, Stefaan Nijs, Inge Fourneau, Sam Heye
Acta Radiologica 2012 March 1, 53 (2): 147-52

BACKGROUND: Arterial injuries to the extremities may result in severe hemorrhagic complications. Open surgical repair has been the standard of care for these patients, but endovascular management may be a valuable, less invasive alternative.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the safety, efficacy and long-term durability of embolotherapy for the management of hemorrhagic, traumatic vascular injuries in upper and lower limbs.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Patients with traumatic or iatrogenic hemorrhagic vascular injuries to the extremities and managed with endovascular embolotherapy in the authors' institution between 1998 and 2010 were included in this retrospective study. Embolization was performed with different embolic materials; technical and long-term clinical outcome was assessed by review of the medical records or by telephone interviews of the referring physicians.

RESULTS: Embolization was performed in 31 patients. In six patients the vascular lesion was traumatic, in the remaining 25 patients the lesion was of iatrogenic origin. Angiographic vascular lesions identified were: contrast extravasation (n = 19, 61%), pseudoaneurysm (n = 8, 26%), and pseudoaneurysm with arteriovenous fistula (n = 3, 10%). Primary and secondary clinical success was obtained in 84% and 97% of cases, respectively. Procedure-related complications occurred in five patients (16%). Most of them were mild. One patient expired 34 days after the procedure due to amputation-stump infection, septicaemia, and multiple organ failure. Long-term outcome showed no recurrent bleeding or other embolization-related complications.

CONCLUSION: Embolotherapy for the management of hemorrhagic, traumatic vascular injuries in upper and lower limbs is relatively safe, very effective without recurrence or other embolization-related symptoms.

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