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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Survival trends after inferior vena cava and aortic injuries in the United States

Bernardino C Branco, Tashinga Musonza, Michael A Long, Jayer Chung, Samual R Todd, Matthew J Wall, Joseph L Mills, Ramyar Gilani
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2018, 68 (6): 1880-1888
30473029

OBJECTIVE: Recent studies have demonstrated an increase in trauma mortality relative to mortality from cancer and heart diseases in the United States. Major vascular injuries such as to the inferior vena cava (IVC) and aortic injuries remain responsible for a significant proportion of early trauma deaths in modern trauma care. The purpose of this study was to explore patterns in epidemiology and mortality after IVC and aortic injuries in the United States.

METHODS: A 13-year analysis of the National Trauma Databank (2002-2014) was performed to extract all patients who sustained IVC, abdominal aortic, or thoracic aortic injuries. Demographics, clinical data, and outcomes were extracted. Patients were analyzed according to injury mechanism.

RESULTS: A total of 25,428 patients were included in this analysis. Overall, the mean age was 39.8 ± 19.1 years, 70.3% were male, and 14.1% sustained a penetrating trauma. Although the incidence of all three injuries remained constant throughout the study period, for blunt trauma, mortality decreased over the study period (from 48.8% in 2002 to 28.7% in 2014; P < .001), in particular for thoracic aortic injuries (from 46.1% in 2002 to 23.7% in 2014; P < .001) and abdominal aortic injuries (from 58.3% in 2002 to 26.2% in 2014; P < .001). This decrease in mortality after blunt trauma was accompanied by an increase in endovascular procedures over the study period (from 1.0% in 2002 to 30.4% in 2014; P < .001), in particular for blunt thoracic aortic injuries (from 0.7% in 2002 to 41.4% in 2014; P < .001). When penetrating trauma patients were analyzed, overall there was an increase in mortality (from 43.8% in 2002 to 50.6% in 2014; P < .001), in particular after abdominal aortic injury (from 30.4% in 2002 to 66.0% in 2014; P < .001). Similar trends were observed for IVC injuries. No increase in endovascular use in penetrating trauma was identified (from 0.1% in 2002 to 3.4% in 2014; P < .001).

CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates an overall decrease in mortality after blunt aortic injuries in the United States. This decrease was accompanied by an increase in the use of endovascular procedures. After penetrating trauma, however, despite contemporary advances in trauma care, mortality has increased over the study period, in particular after abdominal aortic injury. No increase in endovascular use in penetrating trauma was demonstrated.

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