Background: The mortality rate for abdominal vena caval injuries remains high. We examined the experience of a level I trauma center to determine factors significant to the outcome in these injuries.
Methods: Forty-seven patients were identified in a retrospective review (1989 to 1999) of patients were identified with abdominal vena caval injury. Data were analyzed by uni- and multivariate methods, including logistic regression.
Results: Most of the individuals with abdominal vena caval injuries were young male patients who were injured by penetrating trauma and who were hypotensive on arrival. The severity of injury and the number of organs injured was high. The overall mortality rate was 55%. Nonsurvivors were more often hypotensive in the field with physiologic derangement consistent with hemorrhagic shock. Type and location of injury as well as method of repair were associated with death. Multiple regression analysis revealed that prehospital initial systolic blood pressure and intraoperative bicarbonate levels were independent predictors of survival.
Conclusions: We identified factors related to poor outcome, including suprarenal and retrohepatic location of injury and variables that reflected the evolution of shock. Management should include appropriate resuscitation and ultimately may require novel operative techniques.