Applying peripheral vascular injury guidelines to penetrating trauma

Vincent E Chong, Wayne S Lee, Emily Miraflor, Gregory P Victorino
Journal of Surgical Research 2014, 190 (1): 300-4

INTRODUCTION: Treatment of traumatic vascular injury is evolving because of endovascular therapies. National guidelines advocate for embolization of injuries to lower extremity branch vessels, including pseudoaneurysms or arteriovenous fistulas, in hemodynamically normal patients without hard signs of vascular injury. However, patient stability and injury type may limit endovascular applicability at some centers. We hypothesized that for penetrating trauma, indications for endovascular treatment of peripheral vascular injuries, as outlined by national guidelines, are infrequent.

METHODS: We reviewed records of patients sustaining penetrating peripheral vascular injuries treated at our university-based urban trauma center from 2006-2010. Patient demographics and outcomes were analyzed.

RESULTS: In 92 patients with penetrating peripheral vascular injuries, 82 were managed operatively and 10 were managed nonoperatively. Seventeen (18%) were hemodynamically unstable on arrival, 44 (48%) had multiple vessels injured, and 76 (83%) presented at night and/or on the weekend. No pseudoaneurysms or arteriovenous fistulas were seen initially or at follow-up. Applying national guidelines to our cohort, only two patients (2.2%) met recommended criteria for endovascular treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: According to national guidelines, indications for endovascular treatment of penetrating peripheral vascular injury are infrequent. Nearly two-thirds of patients with penetrating peripheral vascular injuries were hemodynamically unstable or had multiple vessels injured, making endovascular repair less desirable. Additionally, over 80% presented at night and/or on the weekend, which could delay treatment at some centers due to mobilization of the endovascular team. Trauma centers need to consider their resources when incorporating national guidelines in their treatment algorithms of penetrating vascular trauma.

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